Saturday, March 23, 2013

U.S. Senate Pulls All-Nighter, Passes First Budget in Four Years

Posted By on Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Idaho's U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined their Republican colleagues to push back against the Democratic majority to pass the Senate's first budget proposal in almost four years. The vote came early this morning after lawmakers pulled a rare all-nighter.

The budget was passed by a 50-49 vote, with four Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in 2014—Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas—joining Senate Republicans in opposing the measure.

The spending plan—crafted under the shadow of looming sequstration spending cuts—calls for almost $1 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, on top of the nearly $600 billion in taxes on upper-income earners approved in January. The revenue increase is coupled with approximately $875 billion in spending cuts but crucial programs including health care programs. The Pentagon would only see modest cuts.

The budget also proposes $100 billion in new spending for job training programs and infrastructure projects.

The spending plan is far from becoming the law of the land. It has little chance when it makes its way to the Republican-controlled U.S. House.

Meanwhile, the Senate and House have until August to reconcile their differences when—you guessed it—they'll face another fiscal cliff as the nation quickly approaches its debt limit again. A similar fight over the debt limit in 2011 cost the United States its top-tier credit rating.

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