Congress this afternoon handed President Obama another big victory to mark his 100th day in office by passing a spending blueprint that incorporates many of his major policy goals ahead on healthcare, energy, and other issues.
But the votes on the budget outline belied Obama's plea for bipartisanship.
The Senate voted 53-43 for the spending plan, with no Republican support, after the House voted 233-193 earlier today, again without a single Republican vote.
In his prepared opening statement for tonight's press conference, Obama says the budget "builds on the steps we’ve taken over the last one hundred days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity."
Newly-turned Democrat Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voted "no," as he did earlier this month when it initially passed the Senate. Three other Democrats also voted no: Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and Evan Bayh of Indiana.
And, still, Obama's allies declared victory.
"America’s workers applaud Congress for passing President Obama’s budget resolution that is a transformational blueprint for growing the middle class and making the economy work for everyone again," John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement.
"Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we build an economy that works for working Americans. President Obama’s budget includes a huge down payment on national healthcare reform, investment in growing green jobs and addressing climate change and more funding for education. The budget also moves away from the failed economic policies of the past and includes tax cuts for middle-class working families, rather than for the wealthy and Big Business. "
“Facing the worst economic crisis in decades, President Obama took the oath of office 100 days ago with a bold agenda to turn our economy around, get Americans back to work and lay a solid foundation for future economic growth and prosperity. And he has done just that. The budget passed today by Congress affirms and supports that vision and addresses the President’s fundamental priorities: halving the deficit over the next four years, providing quality, affordable health care to Americans, improving education investing in the clean energy revolution while reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” added Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine.
Tom McMahon, acting executive director, of the labor-liberal coalition Americans United for Change, said in a statement: “While President Obama inherited a crushing recession and the largest deficit in history, 100 days later the nation is on a clear path to economic recovery paved through the transformational budget Congress passed today. In addition to returning fairness to our tax code and beginning to take control of the federal deficit, the President’s budget recognizes that without fixing our broken health care system, without reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and without investing in tomorrow’s educated workforce, America’s struggling middle-class families will never get ahead. The investments called for in this budget for health care reform, education, and clean energy are essential for long-term economic prosperity. It also remains disappointing that many of the same conservatives members of Congress that enabled the very failed economic policies that got us into this mess once again turned their backs on middle-class families and just said ‘no’ today.”
The bill includes a parliamentary maneuver, which if a healthcare plan isn't passed by Oct. 15, would allow Democrats to push through a plan with a simple majority in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes normally required for such major legislation.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.