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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Congress Passes Spending Bill, Avoids Gov Shutdown: Under-funds Obamacare, Locks In Sequester Cuts

By Susan Duclos

203 House Republicans and 115 House Democrats passed a bipartisan stop-gap spending bill to avoid any government shutdown. The final vote for the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, was 318-109.

Via NYT:

The funding plan for the rest of the year, which passed by a vote of 318 to 109, locks in across-the-board spending cuts that will usher in the most austere government outlook in decades. It underfunds key elements of the president’s health care law, as the administration builds up health insurance purchasing exchanges. And it makes permanent four formerly temporary gun-rights provisions just as Senate Democrats prepare a final push on gun control legislation.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) attempted to get Democrats in the House to vote against the bill as one last stand against the sequester,  reductions to automatic spending increases, that went into effect on March 1, 2013.

“You don’t have to support this resolution and sequestration to avoid a shutdown,” DeLauro said, and then went on to recite a checklist of the consequences of the automatic cuts. “If you vote for this resolution you are voting to undermine the Affordable Care Act. … You are voting to cut $400 million from Head Start. …”

The spending stop-gap did manage to shift some of the reductions to the automatic increases in spending from the sequester, in a way that protected certain programs and offered more flexibility, especially within the Defense Department to carry out those reductions.

The next economic issue won't be quite as easily handled---- The Debt ceiling limit.