The Senate today voted 64-36 to give final approval to a bipartisan deal setting overall funding levels for the federal government through fiscal year 2015 and partially replacing sequestration cuts with other savings. The Senate action comes after the House on Dec. 12 approved the legislation. The House adjourned for the year last week, and the Senate soon will follow suit.
President Obama has said he will sign the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 when it reaches his desk, which means the 12 appropriations subcommittees will have until Jan. 15 to decide on specific spending levels for individual agencies and programs for the current fiscal year.
ACE sent a letter to the Senate Tuesday ahead of the vote in support of the bill, which will set "top-line" spending and revenue figures for the next two fiscal years and partially replace the sequester (the across-the-board spending cuts triggered earlier this year following prior failures to reach a budget agreement) with other cuts and non-tax revenues (such as higher retirement benefit contributions for some federal employees and an increase in airline ticket fees).
The deal is expected to go some distance to alleviate cuts to campus-based financial aid programs and federal research agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.