The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected five separate budget plans including one based on President Obama’s budget plan.
In a 99-0 vote the liberal Senate voted down a budget proposal based on the President’s own plan. Without being able to raise a single vote for his own budget from his own party, serious questions are being raised about Obama’s ability to broker an agreement on the budget. The President’s inability to end an almost sure showdown over a debt-limit increase this year could bring the economy to a screeching halt.
The House-passed GOP plan received much more positive support from the Senate, but failed to garner enough votes to be brought to the floor for debate. Paul Ryan’s plan went down largely on a party-line vote 58-41 with 5 Republicans voting against it. Scott Brown (Mass), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nevada) and Rand Paul (Kentucky).
Of the five plans, Sen. Rand Paul’s was the toughest on spending. The plan called for the elimination of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Energy. Paul’s plan received 16 votes – the least of the proposals put up for a vote.
All of the Republican plans focused on differing degrees of spending cuts much to the dismay of Senate Democrats:
“We will not allow the debt and deficit to be reduced on the backs of the middle class and most vulnerable Americans without calling on the wealthiest to contribute. That is not fair, it’s not what the American people want, and it’s simply not going to happen.” — Sen. Patty Murray, (D – Wash)
The Democrats have re-asserted their position that it is unnecessary to create and pass a budget this year because of the spending limits agreed to last year. Republicans have been quick to point out that the spending limits do not fulfill the legal obligation to produce a budget each and every year – an obligation the Harry Reid led Senate has failed to make for three consecutive years.