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House passes compromise budget bill 260-167

From NBC's Shawna Thomas and Carrie Dann
The House has passed a compromise budget bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, with 59 Republicans breaking with House Speaker John Boehner to vote against the measure.

The vote was 260-167, with 81 Democrats voting for the deal reached by negotiators late last Friday night.

The bill – which was originally advertised as cutting $38 billion in federal spending – has been criticized by some conservative Republicans who said that the cuts were inadequate to address the government’s ballooning debt. 

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that, although it does reduce government agencies’ authority to spend almost $40 billion, CBO estimates that the total savings in the bill are closer to about $20-25 billion for this fiscal year.

Of the 59 GOP defections, 27 were freshmen members. The number of Republicans who broke with their party is comparable to those who bucked their leaders when the last stopgap “continuing resolution” passed the House on March 15. Fifty-four Republicans opposed that measure.

But the Republican opposition signals that Boehner did not have enough GOP votes to pass the budget deal without Democratic support. (There are currently 241 Republicans in the house; it takes 217 'yes' votes to pass a bill.)

Speaking on the House floor before the vote, Boehner acknowledged that the compromise legislation, which he negotiated for with President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, did not contain the depth of cuts he would have wanted.

“Is it perfect? No,” he said. “I'd be the first one to admit that it's flawed.”

“Well, welcome to divided government,” he added.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to pass it later today.