Senate poised to pass budget

Senate poised to pass budget

The Democratic-controlled Senate appears set to approve its first budget resolution in four years.

Votes on amendments to the budget began Thursday night, with a final vote set for late Friday or early Saturday.

In a sign of caucus unity, only one Democrat broke ranks to support a key GOP motion on Thursday night. The motion simply called for Democrats to rewrite their budget so that it balanced within 10 years.

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Only Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-W.Va.) joined Republicans to support it.

The entire Democratic Caucus also rejected a GOP amendment to replace the budget's tax reform instructions, which raises $975 billion in revenue, with instructions to complete revenue-neutral tax reform.

Democrats can only afford to lose only five votes on their budget, which would allow Vice President Biden to cast a tie-breaking ballot. A handful of Democrats from red states, several of whom are facing reelection in 2014, are the key.

Undecided senators include Sens. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBernie Sanders flexes power on single-payer ObamaCare architect supports single-payer system Trump has yet to travel west as president MORE (D-Mont.), Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.), Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (D-Alaska), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems Trump having dinner with Schumer, Pelosi on Wednesday MORE (D-Ind.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampJustice Dept investigating Equifax stock sales: report Dem senator: Trump 'very serious' about infrastructure Trump steps up courtship of Dems MORE (D-N.D.).
 If they all voted “no,” the budget would fail.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) has prevented a budget resolution from being debated since 2009 in part to protect his members from tough votes.
 


But he has signaled this year will be different.

“We're going to finish the budget before we leave here for the Easter break,” Reid promised this week. “That is for sure. My caucus knows this."

Vulnerable Democratic senators could be seen going in and out of Reid’s office on Thursday as Senate leaders tried to shore up their troops.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterFive things to know about Sanders’s single-payer plan Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill Overnight Regulation: DeVos ignites backlash with rewrite of campus sexual assault policy l EPA power plant rule decision likely this fall | Panel approves Trump financial regulator nominees MORE (D-Mont.) emerged to say he had decided at the last minute to support the plan.
 
“We looked through it. We think attacks the deficit from a reasonable perspective and protects investments to get the economy going,” Tester said.
 


He said he didn’t know if it would pass, and said if an amendment allowing online purchases to be hit with sales taxes were attached it would be a problem for him.
 


Other vulnerable Democrats like Sens. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuCNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' CNN's Van Jones: O'Keefe Russia 'nothingburger' video 'a hoax' Trump posts O'Keefe videos on Instagram MORE (La.) and Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (S.D.) have joined Tester in supporting the budget.

Reid and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Policymaking commission offers a glimmer of hope in hyper-partisan Washington Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Wash.) say their plan would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.

But it includes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes that could be difficult for some centrist Democrats to support. And because the Democratic budget turns off the sequester's automatic spending cuts, Republicans argue it would increase spending over the next decade.

The Senate budget is unlikely to be reconciled with the House budget to become law, but that won’t stop the GOP from using Democratic votes for the budget in future campaign ads.

Reid and Murray are selling the budget as a “balanced approach” backed by the public in the 2012 elections.

They argue that, counting $1.8 trillion in spending cuts from the last Congress, the plan adds up to more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction — a feat in line with the 2010 recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Commission.
 


Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (R-Ala.), the Budget panel’s ranking member, argued that the budget uses gimmicks and actually increases spending.
 


“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.”
 


Democrats’ ability to move their budget will depend in part on whether they can fight off GOP amendments, which only take a majority vote to be added to the bill.

The voting process, which could go well into Saturday morning, could see votes on President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation, gun control, welfare work requirements, automatic congressional pay increases, illegal immigration and whether White House officials should be paid when they have not produced a budget on time, as is the case this year.


Liberal Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoLive coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Hawaii) and Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa) have an amendment that would ban the use of the chained consumer price index to calculate increases in benefits for inflation to Social Security and other programs.

Obama has put the proposal on the table in deficit talks with Republicans, but the Senate budget core text is silent on chained CPI.
 


Senate Democrats on Thursday forced a vote on the House-passed budget authored by Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Wis.), which balances in 10 years using deep spending cuts. It was voted down 40 to 59, with GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum MORE (Nev.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE (Texas) voting with Democrats against Ryan's plan. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration MORE (R-Fla.), a prospective 2016 GOP presidential nominee, voted for Ryan's budget.

GOP rising star Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will offer his own, more conservative budget blueprint.