Sessions offers motion to recommit Senate budget until it balances

Sessions’ amendment won’t get a vote until debate on the Senate budget resolution is completed, likely Friday morning, unless an agreement is reached to vote earlier.

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The Budget Committee ranking member, Sessions said that spending doesn't have to be cut in order to balance the budget; the committee could instead reduce projected spending increases and still balance the budget. 

“What we’re saying is, this country can balance a budget … if we set forth a plan that increases spending by 3.4 percent each year,” Sessions said. “We can spend more money and still get a balanced budget.”

Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Sessions was really calling for the committee to produce the plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which she said makes “extreme cuts.”

“We’ve seen the package they’re talking about, it’s the Ryan budget plan … that eliminates the deficit, they say, but does it in a devastating way to middle class families,” Murray said. “It takes extreme cuts to our infrastructure that’s crumbling and our education system. 

“Their budget in the House would dismantle Medicare. … That sounds pretty unbalanced to me.”

The Republican plan would balance the budget over 10 years by cutting $5.7 trillion in spending.

Sessions was critical of Murray’s budget because it does not balance the budget over 10 years and would not reduce the debt.

Democrats say their budget cuts the deficit by $1.85 trillion over ten years through an equal amount of spending cuts and new revenue, but the GOP has said that, because it assumes the sequester will not happen, the amount of deficit reduction is closer to $700 billion.

“This motion would simply say this to our colleagues, do you favor a balanced budget? Is it important to you? Have you said you’d vote for a balanced budget?” Sessions said. “A goal of balancing the budget isn’t just some frivolous goal -- it will mean that we’ll put our government on a sustainable path.”

Democrats say government investment is still necessary to produce more economic growth, but Sessions said that more debt hinders economic growth.

Sessions said that if the Senate produced a balanced budget, it would have a better chance in a conference committee with the House’s budget.

Murray said that the process of reworking the budget in committee would take months. Under the No Budget, No Pay Act passed earlier this year, the Senate has to pass a budget by April 15 or else they don't get paid.