WASHINGTON — The Senate sent a clear message that the two-year bipartisan budget plan has strong bipartisan support, as it voted Tuesday 67 to 33 to remove a key hurdle to its passage.
The vote means debate on the measure will be limited, and passage is now virtually assured later Tuesday or Wednesday.
Twelve Republicans joined 53 Democrats and two independents to back the debate limit.
The Republicans included: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio.
The budget deal would ease automatic spending caps, or the sequester, by spending $63 billion more over the next years. It would raise an estimated $85 billion over 10 years with a series of revenue increases and cuts.
The House of Representatives passed the bill last week.
A big reason for the likely approval: Lawmakers are eager to head home and show gridlock-weary constituents that Congress can get something done.