By Erik Wasson
Sen. Sessions balks at budget deal
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday said he would oppose the budget deal, providing a clue as to why Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) chose to skip a conference committee vote.
A committee vote could have treated the public to an ugly debate between Ryan and Sessions, who felt marginalized by the process.
“I appreciate the hard work Chairman Ryan and Chairman Murray put into their deal, but I am not able to support it,” said Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.
He said that he is against the deal because it raises discretionary spending above sequestration levels. The deal spends $63 billion more on agency budgets, although it pays for that with $85 billion in spending cuts elsewhere and fee increases.
Sessions said that this replacement savings is flawed. He noted that $47 billion of the savings come in years outside the original 2011 Budget Control Act 10-year budget window.
“Much of the spending increase in this deal has been justified by increased fees and new revenue. In other words: it’s a fee increase to fuel a spending increase — rather than reducing deficits,” he added.
Finally, Sessions noted that the budget conference committee never produced a true budget resolution, despite the fact that the Ryan-Murray bill contains top-line spending numbers.
“Senate and House budget resolutions were committed to Conference. They were not acted on," he said. "The result is legislation from Chairman Ryan and Chairman Murray, leaving Congress without a budget resolution for the fourth straight year. This legislation is not a budget and was never formally considered, crafted, or voted upon by the conferees.”