Senate Budget leaders kick off debate, highlighting deep divides

Those differences would have to be addressed at some point in order for the House and Senate to come to a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on how much federal spending there will be over 10 years. If not, another continued spending resolution would be necessary before October.

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“The Senate budget passed through the Budget Committee last week with the strong support of all ten Democrats and two Independents,” Murray said on the Senate floor. “It is a responsible and balanced plan that puts the economy first and tackles our deficit and debt responsibly and credibly.

“And I am hopeful that after it passes the Senate, the House of Representatives stands ready to compromise as well, and we can come together around the balanced and bipartisan deal the American people expect and deserve.”

The Democratic budget has already come under heavy fire from Republicans who say it over-estimates the extent to which it would reduce the deficit, and raises $1 trillion in new taxes. Democrats say it cuts the deficit by $1.85 trillion over ten years through an equal amoung of new revenue and spending cuts, but the GOP has said that because it assumes the sequester will not happen, the amount if deficit reduction is closer to $700 billion.

“They would eliminate the sequester but would not count that as increasing spending,” Sessions said. “This is how the country goes broke.”

Sessions made it clear the Republicans are going to be hitting one point hard this week — that the Democrats’ proposal never balances the budget.

“So the budget before us today is a bankrupt vision that will bankrupt the country,” Sessions said. “It’s a jaded tax and spend budget — a budget that never balances, never.”

In contrast, Republicans are proposing a balanced budget in 10 years through $5.7 trillion in spending cuts. The combination of turning Medicare into a voucher system and the repeal of the 2010 healthcare law has led to ongoing Democratic criticism.

Sessions criticized Murray’s budget for “growing the government instead of the economy,” while Murray said Ryan’s budget would help the wealthy and major corporations at the expense of the middle class, elderly and children.

“We think Medicare should be protected and preserved for our children and grandchildren. And we absolutely reject calls to dismantle or privatize Medicare by voucherizing it,” Murray said. “The House Republican budget being considered this week would also repeal the healthcare law and increase the cost of care for seniors, throw students off their parents’ plans, cause tens of millions more Americans to be uninsured, and put the insurance companies back in charge of patients’ care. Our budget rejects that approach.”

Sessions said Democrats' claims that the GOP is "throwing middle class families under the bus" were false.

"We’re not throwing middle class families under the bus," Sessions said. "We want economic growth and prosperity. We don’t need to be attacking, in harsh personal terms, people who disagree about over solutions."

The House is expected to pass the GOP plan from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday, while the Senate will spend 50 hours debating before a vote-a-rama that will likely start Friday and go late into the night. Both plans are expected to pass their chambers on mostly party-line votes.

Sessions said that government debt — something that isn’t reduced by the Democrats’ budget — was a “drag on the economy.”

Murray said that her budget is what the American people want because it’s a “balanced approach” between spending cuts and revenues increases by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy.

“It reflects the pro-growth, pro-middle class agenda that the American people went to the polls in support of last election. And I believe it is a strong and responsible vision for building a foundation for growth and restoring the promise of American opportunity,” Murray said. “The highest priority of our budget is to create the conditions for job creation, economic growth, and prosperity built from the middle out, not the top down.”

Democrats have criticized Ryan’s plan because it would reduce top tax rates to 25 percent and eliminate tax deductions that they say benefit the middle class.

“This shouldn’t be controversial; there is bipartisan support for making the tax code more fair and efficient,” Murray said. “We just think that instead of that savings going toward more tax cuts for the rich, it be used to reduce the deficit and invest in the middle class.”

Sessions said that under the Democrat's plan, debt would grow by $7.3 trillion over 10 years.

This article was updated at 8:25 p.m.