Senate Dems to move budget through committee for first time in four years

Senate Democrats on Wednesday said they will move a budget resolution through the Budget Committee and onto the Senate floor for the first time in four years.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHouse passes bill to combat gender pay gap Schumer kicks into reelection mode Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act MORE (D-Wash.) said the decision had nothing to do with the House’s debt-ceiling bill, which would withhold senators’ pay if they failed to pass a budget by April 15. The "no budget, no pay" bill is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday.

“Senate Democrats plan to move on a budget resolution regardless of whether the House rolls this issue into their short-term bill to increase the debt limit,” Murray said.


Murray has been silent about her plans since Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform MORE (D-N.Y.) shifted course over the weekend and said Senate Democrats would produce a budget. Since then, it had been an open question whether the budget would be moved through the committee process, which can expose members to tough votes.

The Budget chairwoman said that Democrats are eager to contrast their budget with whatever the House produces.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) last week committed to producing a budget that balances within 10 years, a feat that will likely require far deeper cuts to government programs than his last two budgets required. His last budget, which cut $5 trillion in spending and partially privatized Medicare, balanced in about 25 years.

“Democrats and Republicans spent the last year laying out our budget values and priorities on the campaign trail, and the American people went to the polls and strongly endorsed the Democrats' balanced approach that puts jobs and the middle class first, calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, protects seniors and families and lays down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth,” Murray said.

Republican leaders claimed victory after Senate Democrats said they would accept the House's debt-ceiling bill.

"With the economy on the line for four years, Senate Democrats refused to pass a budget. With their paychecks on the line for one week, they came around," said Rory Cooper, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorWhite House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn't vote for them Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber MORE (R-Va.).

Lawmakers who have pushed for a return to regular order on the budget also applauded Murray's decision.

“If Sen. Murray says we are going to move forward, that’s a huge victory,” said Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.), who has introduced his own version of “no budget, no pay” legislation.

Conservative Democrat Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 'Just say no' just won't work for Senate Republicans MORE (D-W.V.), a co-sponsor of Heller's bill, said he was “tickled to death” by Murray’s announcement.

Murray met with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday night to chart the path forward. In recent weeks she had been consulting with colleagues on whether to move through committee, which could be a difficult task.

The Budget Committee has deficit hawks like Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNew US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks Intelligence leaders push for mandatory breach notification law MORE (D-Va.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter' Democrats get good news from IRS IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting trillion MORE (D-Ore.) who are willing to cut entitlement benefits, and liberals like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (I-Vt.) who have ruled out any cuts at all.

Including Murray, there are 12 Democrats on the panel and 10 Republicans.

Murray needs a majority of those voting and present to move the budget forward, an aide said. She can afford one Democratic abstention but not a Democratic "no" vote, assuming all Republicans vote no.

Vulnerable Democrat Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Alaska group backing independent candidate appears linked to Democrats Sullivan wins Alaska Senate GOP primary MORE (Alaska), up for reelection in 2014, is no longer on the Budget Committee this year. Newcomers Angus KingAngus KingNew US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks MORE (I-Maine) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineProgressives put Democrats on defense Senators reintroduce bill to block NATO withdrawal Democrats back up Biden bid to return to Iran nuclear deal MORE (D-Va.) are likely to bolster the deficit-hawk camp, while liberal Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDemocratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Mary Trump joining group that supports LGBTQ+ female candidates Johnson says leaving office after 2022 'probably my preference now' MORE (D-Wis.) could prove to be to the left of Murray.

Democrats will be seeking higher revenue in the budget, but Republicans have said that more revenue is off the table following the “fiscal cliff” deal.

Murray said that now that the normal budget procedure is being taken up, Republicans need to stop using the debt ceiling and threat of government shutdown to try to get their way on spending.

“For years, congressional Republicans have used every crisis they could manufacture to litigate the federal budget outside the regular budget process without any regard for the impact of their actions on workers and the economy,” she said. “Republicans have time and again pulled budget negotiations out of the Budget Committees in ways that rattled the markets, hurt the economy and increased uncertainty.

“Republicans can either say they want to have a budget debate in the Budget committees, or they can say they would prefer to negotiate the issue lurching from crisis to crisis — but they can’t say both. It simply doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Republicans say that they have had to use the debt ceiling and continuing-resolution fights because the budget process has broken down.

Even if Senate Democrats manage to pass a budget, the chances of Murray’s resolution being reconciled with that of Paul Ryan in a conference committee appear slim at best.

This story was updated at 11:03 a.m.