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.

Only Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary 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 Baucus2020 Dems pose a big dilemma for Schumer Steady American leadership is key to success with China and Korea Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate MORE (D-Mont.), Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganPolitics is purple in North Carolina Democrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 MORE (D-N.C.), Mark PryorMark Lunsford 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 DonnellyDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate rejects Trump immigration plan MORE (D-Ind.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSenate rejects Trump immigration plan Cramer to announce North Dakota Senate run on Friday Senate Democrats not sold on bipartisan immigration deal MORE (D-N.D.).
 If they all voted “no,” the budget would fail.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake 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) TesterWith vote against Brownback, Democrats abandon religious freedom Democrat Manchin: Pence attacks prove ‘they don't want bipartisanship’ in Trump admin Tester invited the Border Patrol Union’s president to the State of the Union. What does that say to Dreamers?   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 Loretta LandrieuProject Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns You want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' MORE (La.) and Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter 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 Murray30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion Overnight Finance: Mulvaney sparks confusion with budget remarks | Trump spars with lawmakers on tariffs | Treasury looks to kill 300 tax regs | Intel chief's warning on debt 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 SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand 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) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDem senators want list of White House officials with interim security clearances Dems send letter probing Kelly, McGahn over Porter allegations Dems call for probe into security clearances after WH aide resignation MORE (D-Hawaii) and Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinTrump should require federal contractors to follow the law Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate Democrats are all talk when it comes to DC statehood 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 Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan 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 CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (Nev.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (Texas) voting with Democrats against Ryan's plan. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' 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.