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House votes to avert deep spending cuts, including to Medicare, resulting from $1.9T relief package

The Democratic-led House voted Friday to avert deep spending cuts, including an estimated $36 billion in Medicare cuts next year, that would be triggered by President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package absent action from Congress.

The House voted 246-175 to get around a 2010 law that would trigger the cuts.

More than two dozen Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the bill and neither party wants to see the cuts happen.

But it’s unclear whether the bill as passed will win enough support in the 50-50 Senate to avert a possible filibuster.

The bill lawmakers passed on Friday exempts the relief package from being counted against a budget scorecard that triggers “sequestration” cuts to offset projected increases in the federal deficit from new legislation.

The bill also extends a temporary freeze on separate Medicare sequester cuts until the end of the year. That exemption, which was extended in earlier COVID relief bills, is due to expire at the end of the month.

Democrats said they couldn’t include a waiver for the broader cuts in the $1.9 trillion package itself because of the fast-track budget rules they used to muscle the bill through Congress without support from Republicans.