News Wrap: Senate clears way for final vote on bipartisan budget deal

In our news wrap Tuesday, the Senate voted to limit debate on a bipartisan budget deal that has already passed in the House of Representatives, clearing the way for a final vote. Also, six American soldiers died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the worst single incident to hit NATO forces there in months.


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JUDY WOODRUFF: An agreement on how much and what the federal government should spend money on took a giant step toward final approval in Congress today.The Senate voted to limit debate on the measure that's already passed the House of Representatives.

SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J.:On this vote, the yeas are 67, and the nays are 33.

JUDY WOODRUFF: With that critical procedural hurdle cleared, the only question left for the budget deal is when, not if, it will pass.A dozen Republicans joined all 55 members of the Democratic Caucus to move forward with the bill.

The chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Democrat Patty Murray, helped craft the measure.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY, D-Wash.:Mr. President, this deal is a compromise;.It doesn't tackle every one of the challenges we face as a nation, but that was never our goal.This bipartisan bill takes the first steps towards rebuilding our broken budget process and hopefully towards rebuilding our broken Congress.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss agreed with that assessment.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-Ga.:The legislation we have before us today is the embodiment of compromise, something that has unfortunately been absent in Washington as of late.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The agreement would roll back $63 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts, the so-called sequester.They would be replaced by $85 billion in targeted cuts and increased revenues over the next decade.

That total includes $6 billion in reduced cost-of-living adjustments for younger military retirees.

Several Republicans voiced opposition to that provision, among them, Mississippi's Roger Wicker.

SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-Miss.:We can find $6 billion elsewhere without breaking a promise to people who, during a time of the global war on terror, have stood forward, donned the uniform of the United States of America, and volunteered time and time again.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Final passage on the budget measure is expected no later than Wednesday.

In Afghanistan, six American soldiers died in a helicopter crash today.It was the worst single incident to hit NATO forces there in months.The troops were aboard a Black Hawk that went down in the Southern province of Zabul.There was only one survivor.The cause is under investigation by NATO.There was no enemy fighting reported nearby.

The U.S. is moving to beef up security forces in the Philippines amid growing tensions with China.Secretary of State John Kerry pledged more than $40 million in aid today.He met with his Philippine counterpart and maintained the aid is not directly aimed at countering China.But he again criticized Beijing for imposing an air defense zone over disputed waters.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: The United States doesn't recognize that goal and doesn't accept it.The zone should not be implemented, and China should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region, and particularly over the South China Sea.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Just yesterday, Kerry announced $32 million in security aid for Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Japan has its own plan to answer China's military expansion.The ruling cabinet in Tokyo voted today to increase defense spending by 5 percent over the next five years.The money will pay for new surveillance drones, jet fighters and naval destroyers.

North Korea's political and military elite made a show of loyalty to leader Kim Jong-un today on the second anniversary of his father's death.State television showed Kim front and center at a memorial event for Kim Jong Il, as top officials pledged support.The pageantry came days after the leader's powerful uncle was executed as a traitor.

Federal prosecutors have their first guilty plea in a bribery and fraud scandal.A Navy criminal investigator appeared in federal court in San Diego this afternoon.Prosecutors say he relayed ship movements to an Asian defense contractor in exchange for luxury trips and prostitution services.Six Navy officials have been implicated in the scandal.

The Washington, D.C., City Council voted today to raise the local minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, one of the highest in the nation.It takes effect in 2016.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nine points to close at 15,875.The Nasdaq fell five points to close at 4,023.