Senate appears ready to pass budget deal - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Senate appears ready to pass budget deal

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WASHINGTON (NBC News) -- As we said on Friday, we've entered Bizarro Washington where the usually divided and almost-always partisan House of Representatives passes a budget deal by an overwhelming 332-94 vote, but where that same deal is far from a sure thing in the Senate.

But before Tuesday's cloture vote, we can now say that there appear to be the 60 votes needed to clear the procedural hurdle. Per NBC News' count, at least five Senate Republicans say they're supporting "yes" on the cloture vote -- Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). In fact, Johnson released this statement on Sunday: "Although I disagree with a number of provisions in the bill, on balance the good outweighs the bad. As long as the Senate does nothing to worsen the bill, I intend to support it."

What's more, NBC's Kasie Hunt says that GOP Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Bob Corker (R-TN) are on the fence at least when it comes to the decision about whether to cut off debate.

Bottom line: While there might be a Democratic defection or two, 60 votes appears to be much more obtainable today than it was late last week. There won't be much drama.

And speaking of Paul Ryan and compromise: In the past, your First Read authors have made this observation about House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI): Despite all the attention he's received on budget matters, he had never once seriously compromised with Democrats in an attempt to get "something." After all, he was a "NO" vote on Simpson-Bowles, even as he was rhetorically praising the work of the group. And his budgets -- even after being on the losing ticket in the 2012 race -- never budged an inch.

So with that said, we want to underscore the role that Ryan played in forging this bipartisan budget deal. "Government has to function. And we saw the specter of two possible government shutdowns in 2014, one in January and one in October," he said on "Meet the Press" over the weekend. "I don't think that's good for anybody. It's not good for the country."

Yes, the budget deal was the bare minimum. And yes, Ryan himself is saying that House Republicans might not raise the debt ceiling next year without concessions from Democrats. But the fact is, Ryan -- for the first time -- used his considerable political capital with conservatives to work with Democrats. And without him, this deal probably doesn't pass as smoothly as it did.

While there has been a ton of focus on Speaker Boehner speaking out against some of the conservative groups, realize, Ryan's authorship on this deal was probably more important in getting a majority of the GOP conference than Boehner's fighting words against Heritage or the Club.

-- by Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro, NBC News

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