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) ManchinOvernight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump Senators demand answers on Trump’s ZTE deal 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 BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan MORE (D-Mont.), Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina 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 DonnellyOvernight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback Trump doesn't invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill MORE (D-Ind.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback Trump doesn't invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill MORE (D-N.D.).
 If they all voted “no,” the budget would fail.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules 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) TesterPro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback 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 LandrieuLandrieu dynasty faces a pause in Louisiana Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns MORE (La.) and Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (S.D.) have joined Tester in supporting the budget.

Reid and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump to sign 'right to try' drug bill next week Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid Dems warn against changes to federal family planning program 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 SessionsRick Santorum: Immigrant parents are putting children 'in peril' by coming to US border Emotion shouldn't serve as the basis for immigration law Giuliani insists Trump won't fire people to end Mueller probe 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) SandersFreedom Caucus chairman: Who was FBI informant reporting to? Trump: ‘Clapper has now admitted there was spying on my campaign’ Overnight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump MORE (I-Vt.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoConservative justices signal willingness to uphold travel ban Former Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii dies at 93 Dems to top DOJ officials: Publicly promise not to interfere in Mueller's probe MORE (D-Hawaii) and Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law 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 RyanHouse immigration fight could boost vulnerable Republicans Putting the 'I' in president Republicans are strongly positioned to win Congress in November 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 CollinsGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Hillicon Valley: Sweeping new data rules take effect | Facebook, Google already hit with complaints | Schumer slams reported ZTE deal | Senators look to save cyber post | Dem wants answers about Trump's phone security Senators express concern over Trump's decision to scrap top cyber post MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerKennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive McConnell: Midterms will be 'very challenging' for GOP Singer Jason Mraz: Too much political 'combat' in Washington MORE (Nev.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Denial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Pro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Pro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform MORE (Texas) voting with Democrats against Ryan's plan. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHouse immigration fight could boost vulnerable Republicans Venezuelan oil must not fall under Russia's tutelage Giuliani rails against Mueller probe 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.