POLITICS: PennAve

House passage of budget a 'positive step,' says White House

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The White House on Thursday praised the House passage of a bipartisan budget bill, calling it a “positive step” for the economy.

“This bill does not include everything the president called for,” said the White House in a statement. “But it marks an important moment of bipartisan cooperation and shows Washington can and should stop governing by crisis, and both sides can work together to get things done.”

The House passed the measure in a 332-94 vote on Thursday, with the Senate expected to vote on it next week.

The deal reached last week by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., would keep the government funded through September 2015. The $85 billion budget deal would replace $63 billion in across-the-board sequester cuts and is expected to save $22 billion over the next decade.

Despite the backing of Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, many House conservatives criticized the bill, saying it did not do enough to rein in spending.

The White House also pressed lawmakers to quickly approve an extension of unemployment insurance, which is set to expire Dec. 28. The jobless benefits, a key Democratic priority, were not included in the Ryan-Murray deal.

“While today’s bill is a good first step, there is much more Congress needs to do to ensure our economy works for every American,” said the White House. “Congress must act quickly to extend unemployment insurance to prevent Americans from losing a vital economic lifeline this holiday season and avoid an unnecessary hit to our economy.”

Extending unemployment insurance will have to wait until next year, however, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saying the upper chamber would consider the measure in January.

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