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Senate Passes Budget That Would Fund Government Into 2017

The Senate passed a bill to fund the government for two years. The measure suspends the debt ceiling and allocates $80 billion to domestic and defense programs.

The Senate passed a bill at 3:12 a.m. Friday that would raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into 2017. This means that there would be no fiscal standoffs and threats of government shutdown for more than a year.

The measure is now on its way to the White House for President Obama's signature, NPR's Ailsa Chang reports for the Newscast unit:

"For months, there was real concern the looming Nov. 3 deadline to lift the debt ceiling was going to send Congress into crisis mode, right when it was picking a new speaker of the House.

"But now Congress has days to spare, having passed a budget agreement that raises the debt ceiling until March 2017. The deal also increases federal spending by $80 billion over the next two years — splitting that amount evenly between defense and domestic programs.

"The agreement was negotiated by former Speaker John Boehner, three other congressional leaders and the White House. The newly elected speaker, Paul Ryan, supported the deal but says he'll ensure a more inclusive process next time important legislation is at stake."

As we reported earlier this week, the package also includes provisions that delay a hike in Medicare premiums, sell oil from the emergency reserve to offset spending, and shift Social Security money around.

"The Social Security Disability Insurance fund will, as of right now, be unable to pay full benefits late next year, when it would have to slash them by 19 percent. This bill would shift money from the old age fund and into the disability fund — a tactic Congress has used several times before."

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