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December 19, 2013

Bipartisan budget agreement clears Congress

WASHINGTON — Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation Wednesday scaling back across-the-board cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system.

Obama’s signature was assured on the measure.

The legislation passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on a vote of 64-36, six days after clearing the Republican-run House by a similarly bipartisan margin of 332-94.

The measure met the short-term political needs of Republicans, Democrats and the White House. As a result, there was no suspense about the outcome of the vote in the Senate.

The measure, negotiated by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., averts $63 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that were themselves the result of an earlier inability of lawmakers and the White House to agree on a sweeping deficit reduction plan.

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