By Erik Wasson - 12/16/13 02:11 PM EST
Ryan-Murray budget on track for passage
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced Monday that he will vote for the House-Senate budget deal heading for a decisive vote Tuesday.
“This agreement isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be, and it isn’t what I would have written. But sometimes the answer has to be yes,” Hatch said in a press release.
Hatch’s support brings to six the number of Republicans committed to closing off debate on the budget bill, which would set a top-line spending level for 2014 and 2015. That likely means the bill passes.
So far, GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) have said they will vote to close off debate on the bill.
Two key allies of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) -- have still not said how they will vote, but they could very well back Boehner's deal, which passed the House 332 to 94.
For the Democrats, liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was still undecided as of Monday and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) had not publicly announced support.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was also undecided due to the lack of jobless benefits in the deal.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide said leadership expects all 53 Democrats to support ending debate on the bill. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) voiced support for it last week.
That would bring "yes" votes on cloture to 60.
Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he is acting out of a realization that Republicans do not currently control the White House or Senate.
“Much more work needs to be done to address the number one drivers of our country’s debt — our entitlement programs. But my hope is that this budget agreement paves the way to greater stability, lasting deficit reduction, and the political will to tackle those challenges in the near future,” he said.
Hatch’s move to the "yes" column comes as House Republican leaders and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have been whipping support for the deal.
Presidential prospects like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have come out against the deal Ryan crafted because it raises near-term spending by $63 billion in exchange for $85 billion in cuts and user fees over a decade.
Senate GOP leaders, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have also signaled they are against the deal.
—This post was updated at 3:42 p.m.