Morning Action: Senate Passed CR, Will Now Tackle Budget
VOTE-O-RAMA. We’ll be tracking the Senate’s budget vote-o-rama to keep you ahead of the curve on the good, the bad, and the ugly amendments being offered during the rest of the Senate’s budget debate:
Conservatives, lawmakers and their staffs, and the press can follow Heritage Action on Twitter throughout the debate to get conservative analysis of pending amendments.
BUDGET. The Senate has wrapped up its $984 billion omnibus spending bill to fund the government through September 30 of this year in a 73-26 vote. Because of its similarity to the House version, it is expected to pass swiftly in the lower chamber as well. Now, the Senate will look to wrap up its budget, but it will certainly be no gift to us. No amount of gift wrap could cover up its $1.5 trillion tax hike:
In finishing its work on the funding measure on Wednesday, the Senate also improved its chances of concluding work on its budget before the weekend.
The budget debate, which at the start of Wednesday looked set to drag into the weekend, now appears likely to wrap up late Friday or early Saturday morning.
Meanwhile in the House, Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget is “cruising to passage.” Though it does not meet many of the highest conservative standards, the media portrays the Ryan Budget as lying on the farthest right end of the ideological spectrum:
The dueling budget plans are anchored on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in Washington, appealing to core partisans in the warring parties gridlocked over persistent budget deficits.
OBAMACARE. When it comes to the health care law and its health care exchanges, many lawmakers think that members and their staffs should be subjected to the same rules to which they subjected all other Americans:
Staffers who work in lawmakers’ personal offices go into exchanges — but those who work for committees don’t. And the lawmakers themselves get Obamacare — unless they are among the roughly 40 senators and 115 House members on Medicare.
And there’s a big thorny unresolved question about money: whether members and staffers in exchanges will still get a significant part of their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer, just like other government workers. If they lose that subsidy, it’s like getting a pay cut of several thousand dollars.
DEMOCRAT BUDGETS. Dan Holler points out that while some Democrats effectively forced Republicans to vote down the RSC budget – which was “too extreme” for them– by voting “Present,” it looks like several of the Democrat alternatives were “too extreme” for most Democrats as well:
Yesterday, lawmakers in the House had the opportunity to vote on four separate Democrat-drafted budgets. Although those votes did not make headlines, they did reveal massive dissension – perhaps even extremism – within the Democrats’ ranks.
Amazingly, 26 House Democrats – 13% of the entire caucus – voted against all four budgets. Were these 26 House Democrats saying Senator Patty Murray’s budget was too extreme?