Senate Passes Joint Budget Resolution, First Time In 5 Years

Senate Passes Budget

Most of the Senate and House of Representatives is celebrating passing a bicameral budget framework for the first time since 2009. The next step will be to pass actual funding bills. Unfortunately for the GOP, not a single Democrat voted for the resolution, and the President has vowed to veto any spending bill that fits into the framework.

The Senate approved the bill on Tuesday, which was about a week after it got out of the House of Representatives, according to the Wall Street Journal. It passed just 51 to 48, with every single Senate Democrat in opposition.

Two Republican Senators also voted in opposition: Ted Cruz from Texas, and Rand Paul from Kentucky. The two, both 2016 Presidential hopefuls, say the budget doesn’t go far enough to rein in government spending, according to the New York Times.

The framework will cut $496 billion in non-defense spending over the next ten years. Likewise, it maintains the budget caps put in place in January, 2013, commonly known as the sequester, while taking about $40 billion in off-budget financing to boost military spending to a little over $563 billion a year.

The budget resolution will garner those savings through cuts to domestic programs for the poor and repealing President Obama’s signature health law.

The bill brought together fiscal conservatives with defense hawks to secure votes from the GOP ranks.

The Democratic party is not happy with the framework and promised to fight subsequent funding bills.

They say they will not accept deep cuts to medical research, low-income housing, food stamps, or federal Pell grants for students. The Washington Post reports that Democrats have said any funding bill would require a dollar-for-dollar increase in spending on domestic programs and the military for approval.

Senator Richard J. Durbin, the minority whip, said he refuses to support a bill that maintains sequester-level cuts.

“We’re not going to sign on to a bill that goes to the sequester levels. There is no reason for us to support these funding levels on the domestic side.”

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer added that not even Republicans will support all the cuts suggested by the framework, saying programs that benefit their constituents will be too difficult to slash.

Nevertheless, Congressional Republicans are positive about the passing the budget bill, even if the future looks bleak.

In an interview, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Our only tool is the funding process, and we’re going to try to do that.”

“It will be challenging, but we’re going to try to delay, rein in, restrict various bureaucratic overreach through the appropriation bills that spend the money.”

Next week, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to produce a budget bill for transportation and housing spending. The bill will be the next step in passing and implementing a budget for the government, but with so much backlash against the framework, it seems unlikely to become law.

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