It's official: Congress has sent President Obama a bipartisan budget deal that scales back across-the-board spending cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system. The final vote on the two-year measure was 64-36 in the Senate. The House approved the bill last week. The legislation is designed to prevent the kind of budget brinkmanship that has prevailed over the past three years of divided government and that led to this October's partial government shutdown. The White House supports the bill, and Obama's signature is assured.
The legislation, which cleared the Republican-controlled House by a wide margin, 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—only about fallout in the 2014 elections and, more immediately, its impact on future congressional disputes over spending and the nation's debt limit. (Read more Senate stories.)