In a rare early morning weekend vote, the House approved an aggressive plan Saturday to eliminate dozens of federal programs and offices while slashing agency budgets by as much as 40 percent, drawing out more than $60 billion in deficit savings.
Setting up a showdown early next month with President Obama and Senate Democrats, House Republicans pushed the legislation through after a marathon debate capped off by an all-night session Friday that spilled into Saturday morning. During the bleary-eyed final roll call at 4:35 a.m., 235 Republicans were joined by no Democrats in support of dramatic spending reductions that they said were needed to address a soaring annual deficit of $1.6 trillion; 189 Democrats -- as well as three Republicans -- opposed it, accusing Republicans of writing the bill with a "double meat ax."
The three Republicans voting against the measure were Reps. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and John Campbell (Calif.).
For Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), it marked an early political victory as his newly empowered GOP troops lived up to a 2010 campaign pledge to trim spending levels to those before the 2008 financial crisis caused an unprecedented level of government spending and intervention into the private economy.
"It's democracy in action," Boehner said in an impromptu, triumphal press conference off the House floor just past 9 p.m. Friday.
Yet Boehner's victory could prove ephemeral as he faces staunch opposition from Obama, who vowed to veto the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who declared it "draconian."
The Senate is expected to take up its version of the spending measure the first week of March, just before a March 4 deadline for when the current funding expires.
Read more at The Washington Post.