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Congress Approves Budget Deal, Sends It To President

Update at 5:56 p.m. ET:The United States Senate has just passed the budget deal by a vote of 81 to 19. Earlier, the House passed the deal agreed to by the White House and a group of bi-partisan legislators.

The legislation now moves to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The AP reports that the bill's passage also marks the beginning of a brand new struggle:

Its passage closes the books on the current budget year.

It also clears the way for a broader debate about spending priorities in an era of soaring budget deficits. That struggle begins in earnest on Friday, when House Republicans are expected to approve a budget that calls for major changes in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as deep cuts elsewhere.

Update at 3 p.m. ET:The $38 billion package of spending cuts agreed to by the White House and a bi-partisan group of congressional lawmakers just passed the House by a vote of 260 in favor to 167 against.

The Senate, where the deal is also expected to win approval, may vote as soon as later today.

Update at 2:37 p.m. ET:The voting has begun.

Our original post:

The House debate over the $38 billion package of spending cuts that the White House and Republican leaders of Congress agreed to late Friday is drawing to a close.

C-SPAN.org, which as always is broadcasting and webcasting the action, expects the voting to begin around 2:30 p.m. ET.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said earlier today that he expects the bill will be passed — and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, said lawmakers from her party would "help put it over the top."

We'll be updating this post.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.