Senate rejects GOP attempt to remove tax increases from budget

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) budget raises $975 billion in new revenue through closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations. It does so by instructing the Senate Finance Committee to come up with a plan to close corporate and individual tax breaks by Oct. 1. The instructions would allow the Finance Committee to move a tax reform bill without facing a filibuster.

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Grassley’s amendment would have removed the reconciliation instructions and replaced them with a call for “deficit-neutral tax reform.”

“We should not raise taxes another trillion dollars,” Grassley said ahead of the vote. “We should not close loopholes for more spending. We only close loopholes for deficit reduction. ... We’ll grow the economy with more pro-growth tax reform.”

Murray’s budget includes $100 billion in stimulus funding that Democrats say will help economic growth and workforce training. It 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 their budget cuts the deficit by $1.85 trillion over 10 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.

“The goal of our budget is to tackle our deficit responsibly,” Murray said. “That means a balanced mix of responsible cuts and revenue from those who can afford it.”

The Senate reached a deal to hold five amendment votes Thursday night and it will vote on six more amendments Friday morning at 11 a.m., while the 50 hours of required debate continues. Debate time could be yielded back in order to start the "vote-a-rama" on an unlimited number of germane amendments before 7 p.m. Friday.