(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 4:20 a.m. | The Senate approved the GOP’s budget blueprint on a 52-46 vote following an epic vote-a-rama that featured dozens of test votes on everything from carbon taxes to Social Security benefits for same-sex marriages.
Two Republicans eyeing the White House voted no: Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, but otherwise the vote was along party lines.
“By passing a balanced budget that emphasizes growth, common sense and the needs of the middle class, Republicans have shown that the Senate is under new management and delivering on the change and responsible government the American people expect,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
“The Democrat-led Senate for years refused not only to pass a balanced budget, but any budget at all. Those days are over, and the proof is passage of a balanced plan with ideas that Congress’ nonpartisan analysts tell us would boost jobs, raise income and drive economic growth,” the Kentucky Republican added.
There were moments of drama, like two vulnerable GOP senators up in 2016 switching their votes to “yes” to back paid sick leave, giving it 61 votes.
Senators even voted to nix their own health insurance benefits on a 52-46 vote around 2:30 a.m. — a vote David Vitter of Louisiana has been seeking for nearly two years, much to the consternation of many of his colleagues.
Earlier the Senate Republicans eyeing the presidency jostled for position on war funding. Full story