Jeff Sessions promised to filibuster and Republican support was slow to emerge, leading columnists like Marc Thiessen to wonder if the Ryan-Murray murmur of a budget deal might die in the Senate. Not even close:
Twelve Senate Republicans joined all 55 Democrats and Independents on Tuesday to advance the bipartisan budget deal approved in a landslide House vote last week. President Obama also supports the measure.
The list of the Republican aisle-crossers contains the usual suspects along with a couple surprises:
Despite opposition from conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, GOP Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John McCain (Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) voted to end debate on the measure.
Defense hawks like McCain voting to end sequestration isn’t surprising, and professional milquetoasts like Murkowski and Collins supporting a bipartisan deal is par for the course. But Jeff Flake? Ron Johnson? Conservative support seems to stem from a desire to avoid another government shutdown (as Johnson acknowledged over the weekend) and siphon all public attention onto Obamacare. The Republican strategy right now seems to be: Throw away the first real deficit reduction we’ve had in years in the hopes that we can benefit from the health care market exploding. It doesn’t really inspire confidence, but maybe I’m being intransigent. Another five minutes of John Boehner screaming into a microphone should set me straight.
Needless to say, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz both voted no. Marco Rubio, too.
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