Lawmakers Put 2011 Budget In Rear-View Mirror

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Lawmakers put 2011 budget in rear-view mirrorIt took six-and-a-half months, but Congress has finally agreed on a budget for fiscal year 2011.

On April 14, the Senate and House passed a bill that, along with other stopgap measures, cuts approximately $39.9 billion from current spending levels. The House voted 260-167 in favor of the legislation, with 59 Republicans and 108 Democrats rejecting the measure. The Senate supported the budget by a 81-19 vote.

House Speaker John Boehner broke from tradition and cast a vote in favor of the budget. It was his first vote as the chamber's foreman.

"The Speaker knows some members are going to take heat for this vote, and he wanted to let them know he was right there with them," Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, told The Hill.

Beginning last September, Congress passed seven continuing resolutions to prevent a government shutdown.

It didn't take long for legislators to redirect their attention to the 2012 budget. According to media reports, the House was scheduled to vote on Representative Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposal, which aims to cut more than $5 trillion in government spending over the next decade. If approved, Ryan's budget would revamp entitlement programs Medicare and Medicaid.

On April 13, President Barack Obama outlined his own plan to cut the Federal deficit, which would rely on raising taxes for Americans. 

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