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Senate, House pass fiscal 2014 budget resolutions

Now that lawmakers finally have settled budget matters for fiscal 2013, Congress begins work on hammering out a budget for fiscal 2014. Both the House and the Senate last month passed budget resolutions for fiscal 2014.

Now that lawmakers finally have settled budget matters for fiscal 2013, Congress begins work on hammering out a budget for fiscal 2014. Both the House and the Senate last month passed budget resolutions for fiscal 2014.

The House on March 21 approved its fiscal 2014 budget resolution on a vote of 221-207. Ten Republicans joined 197 Democrats to vote against the bill, which also lays out budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023.

Before the vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the floor to tick off the benefits of the bill crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

"Voting for this budget means supporting the Keystone pipeline and American-made energy, means more jobs and lower energy bills," Boehner said. "Repealing Obamacare and supporting patient-centered reforms means more jobs and lower health care costs for the American people. Protecting and strengthening Medicare means a secure retirement for older Americans. Cutting waste means more fairness and accountability for hard-working taxpayers. Doing all of this means preserving the American Dream, which is what we were sent here to do."

After the bill passed, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a harsher assessment of the legislation.

“For the third year running, not a single House Democrat voted for the Ryan budget," she said in a statement. “The Ryan-Republican budget is nothing more than more of the same Romney-Ryan policies that the American people rejected last November—yet nearly every House Republican supported it and those that voted against it did so because they wanted to go further to the right."

Labor pans workforce provisions

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley also blasted the House proposal's effects on the federal workforce.

"The new demands on the federal workforce contained in the Ryan budget make a mockery of the important notion of shared sacrifice," she said in a statement after the vote. "Despite their contribution of $103 billion from an ongoing pay freeze and higher pension contributions, Rep. Ryan’s budget would have federal employees contribute a greater amount to their retirement and see that federal pay levels and pay increases are trimmed. In addition, it would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent, further degrading public services and harming the American people."

The Senate’s fiscal 2014 budget resolution passed March 23 on a narrow vote of 50-49.

“I am proud of the work we did in the Budget Committee and on the Senate floor to write, debate, and pass a responsible budget plan that puts economic growth and the middle class first," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement released after the vote.

“While it is clear that the policies, values, and priorities of the Senate budget are very different than those articulated in the House budget, I know the American people are expecting us to work together to end the gridlock and find common ground, and I plan to continue doing exactly that," she said.

The Senate budget proposal replaces the sequester entirely, includes a $100 billion targeted jobs and infrastructure package, and according to a press release from Murray, addresses the deficit and debt using "an equal mix of spending cuts and new revenue raised by closing tax loopholes and ending wasteful deductions that benefit the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations."

“I spoke with Chairman [Paul] Ryan after his budget passed the House to congratulate him and continue our conversation about moving this process forward," Murray said. "I am confident that if Republicans join Democrats at the table and are truly ready to compromise, we can get to the balanced and bipartisan deal that the American people expect and deserve."

But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, was less optimistic about the Senate plan.

"The singular truth that no one can escape is that the House budget changes our debt course while the Senate budget does not," Sessions said in a statement. "The Senate budget increases taxes, increases spending, and adds $7.3 trillion to our debt. It has zero real deficit reduction.

"Most significantly, it never balances," he said. "Republicans gave Senate Democrats chance after chance to balance the budget. But they refused. They have declared to the whole nation their refusal to balance the federal budget."

See the Senate budget at: http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=c951a802-7600-4111-97c9-20bccc9c69d8, and the House budget at: http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fy14budget.pdf.



 

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