Senate Democrats Introduce Their Budget, a Sharp Contrast to House Republicans
Senate Democrats today officially unveiled their FY2014 budget plan, which is vastly different from the House Republican plan introduced yesterday.
The names of the two plans hint at their differences. The House plan is entitled "The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget" while the Senate's is "Foundation for Growth: Restoring the Promise of Opportunity."
Politico wryly commented that the two budget plans "aren’t even apples and oranges. They’re more like apples and bicycles.” The documents "have no chance of becoming law, but they do help explain the impasse over spending and debt in Washington," it adds.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) posted a video on the committee's website emphasizing the differences between her approach and that of her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The lines of demarcation are all too familiar. The House wants to balance the budget only by cutting spending. The Senate wants to balance the budget both by cutting spending and raising revenue. More fundamentally they reflect a philosophical clash over the role of the federal government in the economy and in personal lives.
The Senate Budget Committee is holding hearings this afternoon and will continue tomorrow. The expectation is that the budget resolution will go to the Senate floor next week. As House Republicans continually remind the public, the Senate has not passed a budget resolution since 2009. Time will tell if Murray is more successful this year with a slightly larger number of Democratic votes, but still not the 60 needed to break a filibuster. There are 53 Democrats, 2 Independents who usually vote with Democrats, and 45 Republicans in the Senate this Congress.
For his part, President Obama reportedly told House Republicans today that his priority is to avoid an economic slow down, not to balance the budget. The President is making several trips to Capitol Hill this week to meet with Representatives and Senators on their own turf to talk about resolving the nation's economic problems.
The budget resolutions deal with the future -- FY2014 and beyond. Congress is simultaneously dealing with funding the government for the rest of this fiscal year, FY2013. The government is currently operating under a law that expires on March 27 and the House and Senate are scheduled to begin their Easter break on March 22, so that effort is on a faster track.
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