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House Republicans, in a marathon all-night session, cut nearly $61 billion from the 2011 federal budget Saturday with final passage coming just after 4:30 a.m. The package, approved in a 235-189 party-line vote, included measures that would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood and block money for implementation of the health care law.
The budget bill now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is expected to push back against the reductions -- most of them coming from domestic programs. But on Saturday in the U.S. House, the GOP's large, conservative freshmen class, which pushed leaders for deeper cuts, owned the day. Not a single Democrat voted for the final version of the legislation.
On Friday, the decisions on controversial amendments came in quick succession after the House voted down a measure that would have taken billions of dollars more across the board from federal agencies.
The Planned Parenthood defunding amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), was the subject of three-plus hours of heated debate Thursday night, The Washington Post reported.
Approval of the health care amendment was another big victory for Republicans. The amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) would deny new funding for the federal government to administer the new health reform law during the remaining seven months of the 2011 fiscal year.
The tactic is an alternative to outright repeal of the law -- which remains extremely unpopular among Republicans. The GOP majority in the House approved repeal last month, but the bill failed in the Senate. The new bid to withhold taxpayer dollars from implementation of the health law is also bound to face a roadblock in the Senate, where Democrats are in the majority.
Earlier, the House shot down a measure, sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), that would have trimmed $22 billion on top of $61 billion in cuts already proposed by the GOP, according to the Post. It failed 147 to 281. More than 90 Republicans voted against the amendment, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.
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