US & Canada

Deep budget cuts passed by US House of Representatives

Congressmen walk down the steps of the House of Representatives as they work throughout the night on a spending bill.
Image caption House members worked through the night on the spending bill

The US House of Representatives has approved deep cuts in federal spending, in a vote regarded as a victory for the new Republican majority in the house.

The vote - largely along party lines - approved $61bn (£38bn) in reduced federal spending between now and the end of budget year on 30 September.

President Barack Obama has outlined a plan for less drastic cuts in 2012.

The house's spending bill now goes before the Senate, which is controlled by the president's Democratic Party.

After the overnight vote, the House of Representatives' Speaker, John Boehner, said it was part of Republican efforts "to liberate our economy from the shackles of out-of-control spending".

Many new Republican house members elected last November have called for swingeing cuts in federal programmes.

Correspondents say the current bill is likely to be opposed by both Mr Obama and the Senate Democrats.

On Monday the president outlined budget plans aimed at cutting $1.1tn (£690bn) from the US deficit over a decade.

He said that while the US must live within its means, it should not "sacrifice our future" with drastic reductions.

Although Mr Obama is empowered to propose a budget, it is up to the US Congress to pass it into law and then to distribute the funds.

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