Senate Approves Budget Deal
Senate passes GOP budget, clears way for work on tax reform
Lawmakers pass a $4 trillion budget bill.
October 20, 2017
Senate Republicans narrowly passed a $4 trillion budget plan Thursday, taking their first big step toward a tax reform package promised by President Donald Trump.
Approval of the nonbinding plan allows the Senate to use a special process known as “budget reconciliation” that would forestall a Democratic filibuster.
“Tonight we completed the first step towards replacing our broken tax code by passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible budget that will help put the federal government on a path to balance,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace a failing tax code that holds Americans back with one that works for them.”
The Senate plan, approved on a 51-49 vote, calls for $473 billion in cuts from Medicare over 10 years and more than $1 trillion from Medicaid.
If fully implemented, the plan would cut spending by more than $5 trillion over the next 10 years, with an average of approximately $540 billion per year over the life of the plan, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only Republican to vote against the bill, joining all 46 Democrats and two independents.
“We can’t spend our way to prosperity,” Paul said in a statement. “I will fight for the biggest, boldest tax cut we can pass, but I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the law of the land for years and simply pretend it didn’t matter.”
The House passed its version of the budget plan last week. It calls for tax cuts that don’t add to the deficit and would pair the tax rewrite measure with $200 billion in spending cuts over the coming decade. Both plans include a provision to permit oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted the GOP framework as “nasty and backwards.”
“It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” Schumer said in a statement. “I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Points in the above video are interesting.
1) Paul Ryan renewed his Speaker of the House position.
2) The bill helps prevent a government shutdown. Which as we know Chuck Schumer and the Democrats threatened to do.
3) Senator Rand referred to it as a “bipartisan busting of budget caps that will further that will give the President unlimited power to borrow unspecified amounts of money considering our debt now equals our entire economy.”
4) Despite Republican opposition, the vote passed 64-35. In part, the legislation raises the debt limit through March 2017. (?) Why March 2017 when we are already at the end of October 2017? Obama’s budget was said to have worked out details into 2018 or 2020. Though anything he did was bound to be against our best interests.
How mainstream media has responded:
ABC – “Senate Republicans pass budget that will add $1.5 trillion to deficit, slash Medicare and Medicaid.”
The measure is estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, and contains about $4 trillion in spending cuts. The resolution is a nonbinding budget framework, and is a legislative vehicle that will allow Republicans to pass a tax plan under the rules of reconciliation. This means the GOP tax bill could pass without a single Democratic vote. It also avoids a filibuster attempt by Democrats. Schumer said it would go down “as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed” in the nation’s history.
(Note nothing was cited from the text that explains their headline of slashing Medicare and Medicaid. How they came up with the headline without researching and posting a quote is beyond me.)
Los Angeles Times – “Senate Republicans approve budget with $1.5-trillion deficit to pay for Trump’s tax cuts.”
Senate Republicans overcame internal divisions late Thursday to approve a 2018 budget that will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years to allow for President Trump’s proposed tax cuts. Passage of the GOP’s budget blueprint is a largely symbolic exercise, but it sets the stage for smoother passage of Trump’s upcoming tax cuts. It will include special instructions that allow for passage of a tax plan by a simple majority, without threat of a Senate filibuster to block it. Two Republicans were quoted as saying this was a sham and hoax. But most Republicans argued that Trump’s tax cuts will more than cover the $1.5-trillion shortfall by spurring economic growth and leading to future tax revenues.
WaPo – “Senate approves budget in crucial step forward for Republican tax cuts.”
The budget’s passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators. The budget opens the door to expanding the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Tax cuts that have become Republicans’ essential policy objective since the Senate failed to pass multiple bills to rewrite Obamacare. Approval of the budget is expected to help shore up ties between Senate GOP leaders and Trump, who is angry at Republicans’ failure on health care and bent on Congress approving a tax-reform package by the end of the year. At the same time, by agreeing to the massive tax cut, Senate Republicans have officially moved the party far away from its promised goal of ensuring that the tax plan would not add to the deficit.
Politico – “Senate passes budget, clearing path for tax reform.”
What matters, GOP critics say, are the few lines in the budget that direct tax-writers to start their work. After a significantly shortened vote-a-rama, the Senate passed the fiscal 2018 budget on a 51-49 vote. The budget resolution does include a” decade of proposed spending cuts and entitlement overhauls. But it’s largely seen as a shortcut to reforming the tax code, which Republicans have deemed a must-do after falling short on their attempts to repeal Obamacare. The Senate’s milestone vote on a budget resolution unseals a powerful procedural tool that Republicans aim to use for once-in-a-generation tax reform. Under that process, known as reconciliation, the GOP tax bill could pass without a single Democratic vote.
CNN – “Senate approves budget kick-starting GOP tax reform effort.”
To help speed tax reform, Republican leaders in the House and Senate worked with the White House to craft a technical amendment that would clear the way for the House to take up the Senate version and pass it as is, according to two GOP sources. That took a logistical hurdle out of the way, underscoring GOP desire to move forward on the tax overhaul as soon as possible. e biggest in the history of our country!” But before giving final approval, senators had to go through vote-a-rama, a typically annual ritual when senators can offer an endless number of amendments. That process could have stretched into the wee hours of Friday morning, although Democrats decided to limit their amendments curtailing the voting. As an expression of their unified frustration with the budget process and vote-a-rama, one of the last amendments voted on was to declare the vote-a-rama “utter nonsense”…
NYT – doubled down…- 1)”Senate Approves Budget Plan That Smooths Path Toward Tax Cut” and 2)”For the Senate’s Budget Blueprint, It’s Better Late Than Never.”
1) making sure to mention environmental concerns and 2) being the more aggressive – The Senate’s proposed budget blueprint stretches 93 pages, sketching out trillions of dollars in spending over the coming decade on areas ranging from the military to Medicare.
Trying to make heads or tails of all the garbage bounced around on the March 2017 Budget is nearly impossible. Committee for Responsible Federal Budget did provide more understandable information on the bill and a breakdown on who and how much was to be approved.
Reading the headlines and some of the wording in MSM reporting is a revelation on how a script writer and pulp fiction manage to earn their keep. A few kept some of the relevant information intact but even they managed to twist it to seem as if life as we know it would be ending with the passage of our budget and that the Republicans were so divided as to not be able to achieve one thing. (Well this one I may have to give them considering the current concrete blocks holding down actions.)
This is budget I might add that had already been in the works from Obama in 2015 and which was coasting on fumes since it had to be rehashed, revamped, and reconstructed. Where in the world did ABC come up with their information? No links means to me this was plucked out of thin air. CRFB at least provided statistics they could have used.
The 2016 federal appropriations budget was introduced by Obama in February 2015 and passed in the wee hours of October 26, 2015. The budget work done that year included not only 2016 but tentatively out as far as 2020. In that budget, we also saw a $4 trillion budget and yet MSM gushed over his spending. (don’t believe me? search “articles on the $4 trillion dollar 2016 budget”) He also provided his 2017 Budget information.:
Submitted February 2, 2015
Total expenditures $3.999 trillion (requested) $3.854 trillion (estimate)
Deficit $474 billion (requested) $587 billion (estimate)
GDP $18.819 trillion (projected)
Website Office of Management and Budget
One thing to remember is that despite what they would have us believe, the budget even with changes for more military funding is only slightly above what Obama had projected. The difference being $1.067 trillion enacted in 2016 and the 2017 enacted of $1.070 trillion as the CRFB posted. That information can also be seen in the CRFB post.
So obviously there are spending cuts involved but according to quotes like one from Fortune posted in February 2017, Mnunchin stated there were NOT cuts in entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Appropriation budgets deal with discretionary government spending. So why are the MSM persisting on using this as a headline and a major concern? Seriously, have they such short-term memory and poor research skills that they can’t even remember what they headlined back in February of this year? If they have proof, then they need to quote or link to the items they found.
Now that the Senate has approved whatever version they wrote, we are not done. Both chambers approved versions now have to be reconciled. As a concurrent resolution it does not have to be signed by the President according to CRFB.
Oddly enough all but military had been passed in committees overwhelmingly by June yet it took them until this week to get this far and still they have to “reconcile”. I bet we wished creditors gave us this much time to pay our bills and we could take six months to decide what we were going to pay six months in the past.
It is disgusting to note that not one piece of legislation has made it to the President’s desk since everyone returned from their little vacation the first week in September, yet there are literally a hundred or more bills that are pending in the Senate from the House besides their appointment approvals. Not ONE has been finalized.
Time to put a beat down on Senators and get work done. I vote they do not leave before ALL have been completed. If that means no Christmas vacation, so be it. A Senate leader that gets things done would better serve our country. At least McConnell didn’t back down and was able to push past the voting bottleneck. Though one does wonder if this will come back to bite the hand that produced it some day.