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Senate rejects Obama budget in 99-0 vote
A budget resolution based on President Obama's 2013 budget failed to get any votes in the Senate on Wednesday.
In a 99-0 vote, all of the senators present rejected the president's blueprint.
It's the second year in a row the Senate has voted down Obama's budget.
Obama's 2012 budget failed 97 to 0 last May after Obama himself last April said he wanted deeper deficit cuts.
The House earlier this year unanimously rejected Obama's budget.
The White House sought to provide cover for Democrats to vote against the Obama budget resolution before the vote, arguing the resolution offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was different from Obama's budget because it did not include policy report language.
Democrats made the same point on the floor Wednesday in explaining their votes.
The Senate also voted on four GOP budget blueprints, which were all defeated.
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The GOP forced the votes and believes they showcase the party's ability to produce plans that eventually balance the budget with the lack of a Democratic alternative.
Republicans have hammered Senate Democrats for their inability to produce a budget, which the GOP notes is approaching three years.
"For three years, Senate Democrats have refused to produce a budget, as required by law," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. "And today, they soundly rejected the president's budget proposal which spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much."
McConnell said Obama's budget was "bad for jobs because it includes the biggest tax hike in history, it's bad for seniors because it lets Medicare and Social Security become insolvent and it's bad for our economy because it fails to address the nation's $15 trillion debt."
But the GOP push was blunted a bit when the House Republican budget from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) faced Republican defections in a 41-58 vote.
The "no" votes included five Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Scott Brown (Mass.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Dean Heller (Nev.). Heller and Brown are both in competitive reelection battles this fall.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) initially voted against Ryan's budget but then changed her vote to "yes." She had voted against Ryan's budget last year.
In a statement, she said said she voted for Ryan's budget now that he had altered the Medicare proposals to make private insurance only an option.
Heller explained his no vote by saying the votes staged by his own leadership were a sham he would not endorse.
"Today was about political posturing. The American people are tired of it, and so am I," he said.
Snowe lamented she was not able to offer amendments to the Ryan budget and Brown called for a bipartisan approach.
"We need to end our out-of-control spending, our trillion dollar annual deficits, and the attitude that taxing more and spending more is the answer," Brown said. "To do that, we need to work together, Democrats and Republicans."
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign pounced on the news, noting more than 500 members of Congress had now gone on record opposing Obama's budget.
"President Obama is clearly in over his head and incapable of leading the country," Lanhee Chen, Romney's policy director, said in a statement. "It is time to turn to Mitt Romney's proven experience and leadership."
The other three budget resolutions sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Paul, and Mike Lee (R-Utah) failed in 42-57, 16-83, and 17-82 votes, respectively.
No Democrats voted for any of the budgets and Collins, Brown, Heller and Snowe voted against all the plans.
Toomey sent out a new release gloating that his budget got one more vote than the Ryan plan. While the Ryan plan balances the budget by 2040, Toomey's does so in eight years.
Paul's budget plan balances the budget in five years, partly by eliminating four government departments.
Lee's budget, which also balanced the budget in five years, is modeled after a proposal from the Heritage Foundation and cuts a steep $7 trillion right away. Democrats said Lee had made serious math errors in his budget, however.
Toomey would also cut all marginal individual income tax rates by 20 percent, and reduce the top corporate rate to 25 percent.
Both Paul (17 percent) and Lee (25 percent) would install a flat tax for businesses and individuals.
-This story was updated at 7:47 p.m.