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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Continuing Resolution | Budgets

Update - 6:15 PM: The Washington Post reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) plans to begin Thursday night the formal process of the first congressional debate in more than a decade on limiting gun violence. Reid announced that he will move a package of gun-related bills onto the legislative calendar and set it up as the first order of business when the Senate returns from its two-week break over the Easter and Passover holidays. While the package will not include a ban on assault weapons — Reid said Tuesday that proposal has less than 40 votes of support — it will include provisions to impose a universal background check system, stricter federal criminal laws for gun trafficking and provisions to improve school safety.
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Today in Washington, D.C. - March 21, 2013
The Senate resumed consideration of S. Con. Res. 8, the Democrats’ first budget resolution since 2009. Debate on the budget is expected to continue all day unless an agreement is reached to begin voting on some amendments tonight. Once all time for debate expires, likely tomorrow, the Senate will begin a vote-a-rama, a long series of votes on many amendments one after another until all are disposed of, culminating in a vote on passage of the budget resolution.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 70-29 to approve the Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) substitute amendment to H.R. 933, the "continuing resolution" and finally to pass the bill (73-26). In all truth, I am still wondering why Republicans agreed to the substitution and what was finally in the Amendment. However, indication is that the House Budget Committee is willing to approve the amended change. Prior to approving the Mikulski amendment, the Senate rejected three amendments to the Mikulski amendment: one from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to cut wasteful spending at the Homeland Security Department, another from Sen. Coburn to shift funding from other programs to keep national parks open, and one from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to cut funding from biofuels production and allow the military to spend it instead on operations and maintenance.

Yesterday the House voted down all proposed substitute amendments to the proposed House Budget including the excellent position offered by the conservative Republican Study Committee. This morning the House passed (318-109) Senate-approved amended continuing resolution to H.R. 933 to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year. Surprisingly, the CR gives the Obama administration the discretion to slightly decrease the number of Border Patrol agents.

Today, The House passed (221-207) along party lines Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). It cuts spending, repeals Obamacare, and would finally eliminate the deficit, giving the country a balanced budget for the first time since the late 1990s. However, in reality the repeal of Obamacare is expected to be traded off in the reconciliation process with the Senate. His primary emphasis is cutting spending and balancing the budget. Speaker Boehner stated "Our goal is to cut spending and balance the budget to help our economy grow. Passing this measure allows us to keep our focus where it belongs: replacing the president’s sequester with smarter cuts that help balance the budget, fixing our broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages, protecting priorities like Medicare, and expanding opportunity for all Americans."

In the Senate, though, the Democrats proposed budget that does none of those things. This morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the Democrat budget: “Here what we’d get if it passed. A tax hike of up to $1.5 trillion, the largest in U.S. history. It will cost the average middle-class family thousands. Washington Democrats already just got hundreds of billions in new taxes, plus $1 trillion from Obamacare, so this would be on top of all that. A nearly two-thirds increase in big-government spending. It would siphon a half-trillion out of the economy and into the hands of Washington bureaucrats and politicians. Forty-two percent more debt, with each American owing $73,000. An average of 850,000 fewer jobs per year. And an average of more than 11,500 annual job losses in Kentucky. Medicare would be allowed to go bankrupt in a few years. And It wouldn’t balance – ever."

"Top Washington Democrats say they simply don’t care about balancing the budget anymore – and it shows. Their budget won’t give Americans a better economy, real job creation, or the kind of deficit reduction our country needs – just a massive tax hike and more spending to ‘grow the bureaucracy from the pockets of the middle class out.’”

However, Roll Call managed to find something good about the Democrat budget: the Senate will have an open amendment process on the budget. In a story titled, “Nowhere to Hide in Senate Vote-a-Rama,” Roll Call writes, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the White House have worked in tandem to shield vulnerable Senate Democrats from tough votes that could provide opponents with campaign fodder. But regardless of those concerns, the Senate this week will finish its first budget debate in four years.”

But now, after four years, Senate Democrats have “nowhere to hide” from votes on things like all aspects of Obamacare, the Keystone XL pipeline, and other key issues that Harry Reid’s constant shutdown of amendments has limited opportunities to vote on.

Even with the Democrat budget being as bad as it is, it makes another contrast clear. Despite the law requiring the president to submit his budget early in February, President Obama still has not sent his spending recommendations to Congress. As Roll Call points out, “The White House has said it expects to unveil its budget the week of April 8, two months late, and has blamed the delay on the prolonged debt limit and the fiscal cliff battles.” What has the president been doing in the meantime? Well, he’s filled out his NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket.

Tags: Washington. D.C., continuing resolution, House Budget, Senate budget debate, No presidential budget To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:49 PM - Post Link

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