Senate passes pay-go rule on party-line vote

The Senate voted along party lines on Thursday to adopt statutory pay-go rules in a party-lines vote.

60 Democratic senators voted to adopt the pay-go measure (short for "pay-as-you-go"), which would require that new spending measures be offset in the budget by other funds, typically raised through tax increases or cuts to spending.

Republicans have said that by installing the rule, pay-go would become an excuse for tax hikes, since spending cuts are frequently unpopular.

All Democrats voted for the measure, and all 40 Republicans voted against it. The House adopted such a rule in a 265-166 vote last July.

President Barack Obama urged senators to move forward with the new rule in his State of the Union address on Wednesday night.

"When the vote comes tomorrow, the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason for why we had record surpluses in the 1990s," he said.

Obama's remarks came within the context of a broader effort toward deficit reduction, in addition to a three-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending, and a commission on deficit reduction established by executive order.

Update, 1:37 p.m.: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) points to no fewer than five instances in which some of the GOP senators who opposed PAYGO today had voted in favor of its restoration in the past. Check out the following votes:

Senate Vote #38, 3/14/06
Senate Vote #340, 11/13/05
Senate Vote #283, 11/3/05
Senate Vote #53, 3/16/05
Senate Vote #38, 3/10/04