Senate Passes Budget for the First Time in Four Years

US SenateFor the first time since 2009, the Senate passed a budget after a marathon session that lasted until about 5:00 am (EST) Saturday morning. The vote slimly passed: 50-49. 

All 45 Republicans and four Democrats voted against the $3.7 trillion 10-year plan (FY2014-2023). The four Democrats were Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Max Baucus (Montana). A fifth Democrat, New Jersey's Frank Lautenberg, did not vote.

The Senate budget plan would reduce, but not eliminate, the deficit over the next 10 years by a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.   The spending cuts do not include the sequester.  Although attention has focused on the effects of the sequester for this year (FY2013) -- for which it remains in place -- pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 2011 it lasts until FY2021.

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said the measure came two weeks after House Republicans passed a Continuing Resolution that retained the first real spending reductions in decades.

“One year ago I voted against the House Republican Budget because, among other reasons, it didn’t project balance for 26 years," said Huelskamp. "Today, I was able to vote for a budget that projects balance in ten years. The Republican Study Committee budget I co-authored last year projected balance in seven years and it is encouraging to see the House Republican Budget moving in the right direction."

Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to wrap up the debate on the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

“As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, a critical part of my role is making sure the voices of the American people are heard in the budget process," said Murray. "I believe that budgets are about far more than numbers on a page.  They are about the values and priorities of the American people. In their daily lives, families across the country will feel the impact of the plan we lay out in our budget—and they deserve a seat at the table.”

Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) opposes the budget. He contends the budget will increase the national debt to over $24 trillion by the end of the 10-year budget period and never bring the national debt below 90 percent of our economy and instead projects the debt will eclipse 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the next four years.


 "The Democrats’ budget puts the foot on the gas pedal and drives our country further and faster into debt. Rather than grow the economy, the Democrats’ budget grows the government at the expense of hardworking Hoosier taxpayers. The Senate budget is an unserious plan at a time that demands serious action and tough choices to get our fiscal house back in order.”