Vulnerable Senate Dems back budget bill

Vulnerable Senate Democrats appear poised to back the two-year budget deal approved by the House.

Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (La.), both red-state Democrats facing tough reelection fights, say they’ll support the bill when it comes up in the Senate next week.

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“I am encouraged that a budget agreement has been reached between the leaders so we can move past governing from crisis to crisis,” Landrieu said in a statement Thursday to The Hill. She told reporters on Friday she would vote for the bill.

Two other red-state Democrats facing tough reelection battles have yet to say how they’ll vote. Sen. Kay Hagan’s (D-N.C.) office said she “is still reviewing the budget,” while Sen. Mark Pryor’s (D-Ark.) said he is “still looking it over.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday predicted Democrats would give the budget bill a strong show of support.

Asked if every Senate Democrat would vote for it, Reid said, "Yeah, we'll get our votes."

Voting for the bill appears to be a low-risk proposition for red-state Democrats following a big, bipartisan vote in the House, and supporting the plan could even help them in 2014.

Most of the vulnerable Democrats have sought to portray themselves as problem-solvers willing to work with the other side — and voting for a plan negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) could give them a chance to prove it.

Two Democrats in the House who are running for open Senate seats have already voted for the bill. Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) backed the budget in Thursday’s House vote.
 
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), another Democrat who faces a potentially competitive reelection campaign, also plans to support the budget accord.

“Though the bipartisan budget bill isn’t the exact budget I would have crafted, I will support this measure because it represents the kind of compromise we need more of in Washington and will prevent another government shutdown,” she said in a statement to The Hill.

“Our most important priority right now ought to be jobs, and passing this budget will provide certainty for small businesses and boost economic growth.”

Passing the two-year budget also means Senate Democrats won’t face potentially tough votes on between now and the election.

Republicans in tough Senate races, on the other hand, are shunning the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he’ll vote against it, as have a number of other Senate Republicans who are facing Tea Party primary opponents.

Six of the eight Republican House members running for the upper chamber opposed the legislation as well, including all who face serious primary challenges.

— Alexander Bolton contributed reporting.