McConnell sides with White House with his vote on spending bills

McConnell sides with White House with his vote on spending bills

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress had a good couple of weeks — now let's keep it going McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' MORE (R-Ky.) sided with the White House on Thursday when he voted to advance next year's budget bills based on last August’s debt-ceiling deal.

His vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee puts the GOP leader on the opposite side of the issue from House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase Facebook execs to meet with GOP leaders over concerns about anti-conservative bias Boehner: Federal government should not interfere in recreational marijuana decisions MORE (R-Ohio) and his conference.

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The committee met to divide up the $1.047 trillion allocated to discretionary spending under the debt deal — $19 billion more than allowed under the House-passed budget that BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase Facebook execs to meet with GOP leaders over concerns about anti-conservative bias Boehner: Federal government should not interfere in recreational marijuana decisions MORE supported.

House and Senate appropriators had warned that by that by tampering with August's Budget Control Act and insisting on deeper cuts next year, House conservatives were risking a government shutdown confrontation with the White House.

On Wednesday, the White House stated for the first time that President Obama would not sign any appropriations bills until the House abandoned the level set in the House-passed budget proposal authored by Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies John Legend slams Paul Ryan for Father's Day tweet, demands end to family separation Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families MORE (R-Wis.), and embraced the Budget Control Act.

McConnell cast his vote in absentia on Thursday.

His office noted the leader has said the Budget Control Act numbers are just ceilings, not floors, and he would work to cut spending going forward.

McConnell was the key deal-maker in avoiding a debt-ceiling crisis last summer. He will likely be just a central as the House and Senate try to reconcile differing spending bills this fall.

He was joined by most of the Republicans on the committee and all Democrats in advancing the spending levels to be used to construct the 12 annual appropriations bills.

Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate probes FBI's heavy-handed use of redactions to obstruct congressional investigators Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult MORE (R-Wis.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranFormer USA Gymnastics CEO pleads Fifth at hearing GOP, Trump at odds on pardon power Lawmakers request meeting with Amtrak CEO over funding for route MORE (R-Kan.) voted against the allocations.

Johnson, a Tea Party favorite who failed in his bid to join the Senate leadership this year, defended his vote as a principled cry for the upper chamber to pass a budget resolution this year.

“This vote to limit spending is in no way showboating,” he declared after Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLandrieu dynasty faces a pause in Louisiana Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns MORE (D-La.) suggested that the Appropriations Committee is right to put partisan wrangling aside and prepare spending bills to keep the government open after Sept. 30.

Top Senate Democrats on Thursday suggested the move by McConnell and others was a sign that the Senate GOP was moving away from their House colleagues and the Ryan budget.

“The Senate Republicans over the last several months have been showing a desire to reach out and work with us. And I think that’s very healthy for the country,” Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump knocks Schumer, touts North Korea summit in early morning tweet Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems want answers on DOJ ObamaCare decision The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Kim make history with summit MORE (N.Y.) told reporters.

“I hope that they can persuade their House members, and their colleagues over there, to come to their senses and come back to the deal that we made last August instead of threatening us with another government shutdown,” Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayIBM-led coalition pushes senators for action on better tech skills training Members of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Health chief grilled on Trump drug pricing plan, ObamaCare case MORE (Wash.) said.

The committee also approved the Transportation and Housing bill and the Commerce, Justice, and Science bill with McConnell's support.

— Bernie Becker contributed.

— This post was last updated at 1:04 p.m.