The Senate has approved tough new budget rules to make it harder to run up the deficit with new tax cuts or federal benefit programs.
The Democratic-backed plan would make it more difficult to permanently extend some tax cuts that expire at the end of this year and renew health care subsidies for laid-off workers.
The idea passed by a 60-40 party-line vote. It attempts to curb the spiraling budget deficit by requiring spending increases or tax cuts to be "paid for" with cuts to other programs or tax increases. If the rules are broken, there would be automatic cuts to programs like Medicare, farm subsidies and veterans' pensions.
The rules must still be passed by the House as part of legislation to allow the government to increase its limit on issuing new debt.
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