The two-year budget deal poised to clear the U.S. Senate Wednesday will ease painful budget cuts but not solve all fiscal problems, one of the deal-makers said.
"This deal is a compromise," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who negotiated the measure with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
"It doesn't tackle every one of the challenges we face as a nation, but that was never our goal," she said.
"This bipartisan bill takes the first steps toward rebuilding our broken budget process -- and, hopefully, toward rebuilding our broken Congress," Murray said. "We've spent far too long here scrambling to fix artificial crises instead of working together to solve the big problems we all know we need to address."
The final vote on the measure, which lawmakers say would end the threat of a government shutdown for two years, is expected to be held Wednesday evening.
The vote would come a day after 12 Republicans voted with 55 Democrats to end formal debate -- overcoming a 60-vote filibuster threshold -- and proceed to final passage.
Tuesday's vote to advance the measure all but ensures it will pass the Democratic-led chamber, aides said.
The budget deal, which sailed through the House by a 332-94 vote Thursday, calls for defense and non-defense spending to rise to $1.012 trillion this fiscal year, up from the $967 billion already slated. The increase eases across-the-board spending cuts known as budget sequestration.
Spending next fiscal year, starting Oct. 1, would rise to $1.014 trillion from $995 billion.
The measure -- which calls for no tax hikes or entitlement reforms -- also phases in fee increases and spending offsets lawmakers promise will lead to a modest $23 billion deficit reduction over a decade.
"There's a heavy sigh going on in our caucus right now, because people like me are looking at this and saying: 'Is it a good deal? No. But is it a deal? Yeah,'" Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told the Washington Post.
She voted to advance the legislation.
"I have tried to look at this on balance. And on balance, the benefit of having a deal is better than no deal," she said.
Some Republicans expressed concerns Tuesday the deal cuts military pensions $6 billion over the decade by reducing cost-of-living adjustments 1 percent for military retirees younger than 62.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told reporters the provision was "a deal-breaker" that "singles out our military retirees."
But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the few senators who served in the military, dismissed the outcry. He said even high-ranking Pentagon officials acknowledge the need to rein in the cost of military benefits.
It is passes the Senate and is signed by President Obama, lawmakers must then decide how to divvy up the money among programs and agencies and draft detailed spending bills before Jan. 15, when current spending authority expires.