Senate readies votes on competing budget proposals
March 4th, 2011
04:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate readies votes on competing budget proposals

Washington (CNN) - A day after their first formal talks to forge agreement on a long-stalled bill to fund the government, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders blasted each other's proposals as insufficient and dead on arrival.

To prove it, Senate leaders Friday scheduled votes for next Tuesday on their competing bills.
In a strategy agreed to by the bipartisan leaders at their meeting Thursday, the votes are designed to demonstrate that neither bill can muster enough support to become law and therefore lawmakers on the right and left must agree to more concessions.

"We at least know where we stand," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said about the tactic.

Reid described the House GOP bill, which cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, as "reckless" and "probably one of the worst pieces of legislation to be drafted in the history of this Congress."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said the GOP bill cuts "unmercifully" from critical programs, which would damage the fragile economy and stifle job creation.

Republicans were equally critical of the Democrats' bill, which combined with $4 billion in cuts Democrats agreed to earlier this week, would cut $10 billion from current funding levels.
"The latest proposal is unacceptable and inadequate," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who wants deeper cuts in government spending.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, described the Democrats' bill as "little more than status quo," and not enough to rein in the deepening deficit.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, said Democrats are not making "a serious attempt to cut spending."

Democrats argue their bill actually cuts $51 billion in spending from what President Obama requested for this budget year. By that math, the Democrats proposal is about halfway to the GOP bill, which cuts about $102 billion using the same accounting.

However, since Obama's budget was never enacted, it may be clearer to compare proposed cuts to current funding levels. Using that method, the Republicans have called for $61 billion while the Democrats have called for $10 billion.

Filed under: Budget • Congress
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    Reid described the House GOP bill, which cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, as "reckless" and "probably one of the worst pieces of legislation to be drafted in the history of this Congress."
    This from the buffoon that brought us Obamacare?!! A 2,400 page nightmare that people still don't know what is in it! A giant new healthcare entitlement costing trillions that we will have to borrow! A bill that hundreds of companies and unions have applied to be exempted from!!! A bill that is ALREADY driving UP health insurance premiums!!

    If this isn't fodder for the perfect Republican ad in 2012 I don't know what is. Is there ANY doubt whatsoever that the Democrats are a clear and present danger to this country and need to be removed from office en masse in 2012?

    March 4, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Realistic

    Cut and Cut but don't touch copr tax, tax for the wealthy and do not think about raising taxs. Get rid of big bird, education and everything else but leave the poor little rich people alone.

    March 4, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    Seriously Democrats??? $10 Billion in cuts when there is a $1.6 TRILLION deficit! $10 Billion in cuts out of a budget of over 3 TRILLION!! $10 billion is barely one weeks worth of medicare fraud!! They have proven themselves a joke when it comes to leadership. Americans everywhere should now know the Democrats don't know how to cut spending, just endlessly spend, borrow and raise taxes on the dreaded "rich", aka people that WORK for a living.

    March 4, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. chill

    I guess I'd be more impressed with the Tea Party cuts if they didn't just cut things they are against culturally and took on some of the special tax credits for big business or big ag. Or the government spending to promote farm products and so forth. The Dems should come back with a budget proposal that cuts $61B of those give-aways that don't benefit but a narrow industry or a few multi-national corporations. Then see who forecast the end of the world as we know it..

    March 4, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are spinning their wheels making all this unuseful fuss and noise while President Obama just keeps moving forward and I'm moving with him.

    March 4, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    So Harry Reid is fighting budget cuts. He is just bound and determined to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Democrats are not capable of bringing the federal budget in control by themselves. If anyone believes they actually are capable, when do you suppose they start? When we are $25 trillion in debt? $50 trillion? No, the time is now. Today, really. Thank goodness Republicans have the comittment to us to stand up to these buffoons.

    March 4, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    @ DemoCommunists for a Better Way – Bankruptcy

    The farcical way the House has gone about attempting to defund it shows what a lot of ignorant buffoons your side are. If the GOP is serious about spending cuts, let it be across the board, including defense.

    BTW, your answers show an ignorance of how real people work. We are struggling, and to see policies that are designed to kill a recovery soley for the purpose of denying Obama a second term is UnAmerican. The only thing the GOP is working towards is our destruction: do you really like being in debt to the Chinese with your credit-card economics? Do you know how to invest wisely, and not just give the uber-rich another hand-out they will never use towards helping working people?

    I hate lazy conservatives who skip out on the check.

    March 4, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. America

    @Four and The Door for your comment on.....Boner lacks leadership qualities...
    I'll assume this is your crass nickname for Speaker of The House John Boehner. But since he has taken a leadership role in congress, budgets have been cut and unemployment is coming down. That's what we sent him there for. This is leadership with results that we have not seen in 2 years.
    lolololol now!!!! I guess ignorance is bliss!!!! lololol wow Four and the door you are a funny guy. Where are u when people are disrespectful of the Presidents name huh? Ohhhhhhh but people making fun of BONERs name is sooooooo bad. Sorry that it upsets you. Hypocrite!!!!!! Oh and all that axx kissing you are giving BONER is just laughable . Just give credit when credit is due already. Man people can be so stubborn that they are just blinded by it and thats whats wrong with our society someboy always has to be right

    March 4, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "But since he has taken a leadership role in congress, budgets have been cut"

    Yep, $4B in cuts that substantively match what Obama proposed in his proposed budget.

    "and unemployment is coming down. "

    And not a single economic expert out there agrees with the GOP that it's solely because of the magic pixie dust of maintaining the status quo ante-recession with respect to extending tax cuts for the richest 2% of this country that EVERYONE KNEW FOR 10 YEARS were written by the GOP to expire in the first place...i.e., THERE WAS NOT, NEVER WAS AND COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ANY "UNCERTAINTY" ABOUT THEM. The only "uncertainty" was created by the GOP with respect to whether they could get their wealthy puppetmasters an extension...but if all those supposedly ALLEGEDLY FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE major business owners and ultra-wealthy people were behaving in a PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE MANNER, they would have planned ahead for the planned eventuality of their inequitable, middle-class funded tax cuts expiring. No excuses if they didn't...even though they have the power to make the middle-class suffer for their mistakes instead of having to be accountable for their own behavior. As it is, their wealth and assets have grown during the recession anyway, so it's mind-boggling that anyone believes their whining about living in virtual poverty (literally...just look at the juxtaposition of how Faux treats the woes of middle-class teachers and public employees versus their treatment of the "woes" of the ultra-wealthy 2% a la last night's Daily Show's clips of Faux reports). Moreover, the economy has been recovering for nigh on a year to a year and a half with generally fairly good growth numbers in the private sector over the past few months that have been counterbalanced by loss of public sector jobs. Like so much else, the GOP is full of crap on this one.

    March 4, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Let's all remember how the repugs compromised (NOT) last fall on tax cuts for the rich, which contributed greatly to the current deficit. We will never have a functional government and a balanced budget with tax rates so low.

    Gutless dems should have let all of the tax cuts expire; they gave up all of their bargaining chips with the tax cuts, and dirtbag mcconnell knows it.

    March 4, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "If this isn't fodder for the perfect Republican ad in 2012 I don't know what is."

    Since when do Republicans need anything whatsoever in order to run ads? They are the masters of fabricating I'm sure you're well aware, Captain Astroturf. Death panels, magic economic pixie dust, comlpaining that Obama "did nothing" to grow jobs and then turning around and claiming that they deserve the credit for job growth precisely because they "did nothing" etc et etc...the whole nine yards. The only people impressed and convinced by the GOP's ideological rhetorical diarrhea are either too stupid to realize that the GOP is preying on their religiosity, bigotry, tribalism, nativism, xenophobia and general resentment of losing white majority or are knowingly active participants in the ruse. Nobody out there believes people like the GOP, AStroturf Frankenstein and their Faux Noise propaganda machine are doing anything but spinning ideological nonsense and fabricating their own reality bubble echo chamber except for the people too mentally weak to defend themselves or who tuen in because its their daily reality-denial affirmation session.

    March 4, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. DAVE

    why will national health care and federal programs help the budget? national health care will more than likely lead to a cure in cancer. their is no motive what so ever by doctors or drug companies or hospitals to cut off the fat hand of money that feeds them! their is to much profit to be made by only treating cancer not curing it. when the goverment starts paying the bills they will put money into curing cancer because it will loer the cost. here is a good idea for the budget cutters in washington how about paying back the $2.5 trillion dollars thats been borrowed from the social sucerity account to pay for other things like arms races with the USSR or to pay for middle east nation building. $2.5 trillion would fix social sucerity for one heck of alot of years. how about working on the jobs problem in this country instead of big tax breaks for the rich and corparations trusting that the extra wealth will make them creat jobs. i don't trust compainies to look out for the sharholders( the owners) much less trust them to help with jobs.

    March 4, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. tired of obama

    Reid and Obama are at it again trrying to ruin America. Someone needs to do America a favor and tell these idiots that America is tired of their socialist agenda. Also tell obama to DRILL so we dont pay $7 a gallon gas, obama and his FAT PIG RIB EATING Wife need to GO and GO AWAY NOW.

    March 4, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Republicans are spinning their wheels making all this unuseful fuss and noise while President Obama just keeps moving forward and I'm moving with him."

    Enough years on this planet and you start to realize that's how it generally works: conservatives cling to the status quo and skewed imaginings of "the way things used to be" while reality and history march right on by them. Then they get angrier to the point where they do something stupid like try to pass blatantly, explicitly unconstitutional Civil War throw-back legislation that allows their state legislature to "nullify" federal laws in a gambit to ramp up a justification for secession and, eventually, things get violent and they learn their lesson...or, in the unfrortunate event that they win, the rest of the world learns its lesson by watching them.

    March 4, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    Nothing is going to pass in the Senate that does not enrage the TP's, for whom "compromise" is an obscenity. For all their talk, the GOP/TP is not really serious about balancing the budget. They are using the deficit as an excuse to cut funding for programs favored by the democrats.

    The only way to balance the budget is to make major cuts in the Big Five:
    Social Security
    Defense Dept.
    Tax cuts

    All else is much ado about nothing.

    March 4, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. gt

    here is some waste full spending .. yucka mnt. ..high speed rail to las vegas to los angles .. and thats just the beginng...cut ..cut..cut...

    March 4, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    While the right wingnuttery embraced gasoline costing more than $4 a gallon in the last summer of the Bush/republican debacle. they are now going after the president because it is at $3.50. There is a lot of unrest in the middle east causing this, but the current prices at the pump are the result of Wall Street buying and selling oil futures.

    March 4, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "The only way to balance the budget is to make major cuts in the Big Five:
    Social Security
    Defense Dept.
    Tax cuts"

    I am assuming that by "making cuts" in 'tax cuts" you basically mean raising taxes, no? Because I'll tell ya what, that's the reality of where this is all headed whether anyone likes it or not. We can do the denial dance all we want for the next two years while the GOP claims that all the "entitlement" programs that allow the middle-class to even exist in the first place, the unions that helped to create the middle-class in the first place and the regulatory schema that help give us clean running water, safe food, minimum wages, no child labor, etc. etc. etc., need to be cut or obliterated while the wealthiest 2% dance naked on piles of money, giggling like Charlie Sheens with the keys to the meth lab, and receive the lowest tax rates they've had in 60 years, complete with deductions and loopholes frequently resulting in them paying a lower effective tax rate than your average middle-class family...we can do that for the next two years...but eventually the games are going to have to stop and someone's going to have to be the first brave soul to admit that the conservatives' sloppy handjob for the rich is over. Taxes are going to need to go up...there's no doubt in my mind that they do and that they will. A large chunk of this country is just still int he first stages of grief over it. As youparents no doubt used to say when you were a kid and got too silly, rambunctious and out of control and they'd had enough: PLAY TIME IS OVER. Reality is gearing up to tell us the same thing. The longer we let giant corporations and the rich stall it, the worse it's going to go for the rest of us.

    March 4, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. rob

    So if both sides can already agree now that neither bill will pass then why are they waiting until a vote on Tuesday to prove it? Start doing the work now on compromise and stop wasting tax payer dollars on your salaries by wasting time on stupid useless votes. Both political parties make me ill these days.

    March 4, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I would just like to take this minute to repeat that Speaker Boner is a clueless moron, who should be leading the song fest at a bar during happy hour, not the U.S. Congress.

    March 4, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |