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Budget Deal Could Stumble Hard in the Senate

It's a 2014—and 2016—thing.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

December 14, 2013 - 1:27 pm
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WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans are lining up to oppose the two-year budget agreement that passed the House on Thursday, placing the package in some jeopardy if it fails to attract the expected overwhelming Democratic support.

A growing number of GOP lawmakers who have expressed their reluctance, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, the Senate Republican whip, are facing re-election challenges from their right flank, generating political pressure to oppose the plan.

In fact, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), who is running against Cornyn in the Texas Senate primary, opposed the package, calling it a “terrible budget deal” that “explodes the spending caps, balloons the deficit and betrays conservatives and the Constitution.”

Not to be outdone in a conservative state that views President Obama with a jaundiced eye, Cornyn told reporters during a conference call that he was concerned about the budget bill “because it breaks the spending caps that were a part of the Budget Control Act, which is one of the main reasons why federal spending has actually gone down this year and last year as opposed to having a straight upward trajectory.”

All three members of the Senate GOP leadership – McConnell, Cornyn and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the caucus chairman – are expected to be no votes when Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, calls the measure up for a vote. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, is against it and anticipates Republicans will wage a filibuster, meaning proponents will be required to attract 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to gain passage.

Three lawmakers considered in the top tier of potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — have made it clear they intend to vote against the bill.

Reid hopes to hold a cloture vote on Tuesday, a procedural move that could lead to a final vote on the measure. But Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, the Senate Democratic whip, told reporters on Thursday that leadership remains unsure they have the votes necessary to gain passage.

‘We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,” Durbin said. “We need at least five. And I’m hoping that there will be more than that.”

But at this early juncture, Durbin acknowledged, “there are not five Republicans who have announced they’re for it.”

At least two lawmakers who generally side with Democrats, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are hinting they may oppose the bill, which could leave supporters needing seven Republican votes to pass. Sanders expressed disappointment that the budget package does nothing to create jobs and would not extend emergency unemployment benefits that expire at the end of this year for 1.3 million Americans.

“It is incomprehensible to me that the Republicans continue to protect huge corporate loopholes that benefit some of the largest and most profitable corporations in America,” Sanders said. “This obviously is not the budget I would have written.”

The two-year budget agreement, primarily the work of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, increases projected spending overall for the 2014 fiscal year from $967 billion to $1.012 trillion, with an additional increase to $1.014 trillion in 2015.

The agreement, which passed the House 332-94, would provide $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. In fiscal year 2014, defense discretionary spending would be set at $520.5 billion and non-defense discretionary spending would be set at $491.8 billion. It replaces $63 billion in automatic spending cuts in part by reducing spending in some targeted programs while increasing revenues without benefit of a direct tax increase.

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Top Rated Comments   
What part of "we tried it, it didn't work" confuses you?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good. The last thing we need is to give the Democrats and media (BIRM) an excuse to talk about anything other than the super-critical ball of suck that is Obamacare.

We tried the government shutdown ploy before. It got us nothing and hurt us a bit in the polls. What makes anyone think that more of the same is going to result in a different result.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am in possession of the advance script: Republicans who are facing a primary challenge will be allowed to vote "No" and the budget will narrowly pass, thus, the charade will continue. Our poor county has no leaders, and until we do the snowball continues rolling.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (40)
All Comments   (40)
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41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do they need 5 repub votes. A budget resolution cant be filibustered and can pass with 51 votes, and dems have a 55 vote majority. There must be at least 10 dem defections if they need 5 repub votes. I don't think this is a great bill for conservatives, but I am willing to buy that it is the best we can get now. But if we take the senate I expect them to give us better, and much better if we get a repub prez.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I support the compromise, because it will lead to increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, which funds medical research. Urge your senators to vote for the compromise
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Buying votes is so easy. No wonder both parties do it to the exclusion of all else.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Buying votes is so easy; HerbK is for sale and for cheap too!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and this is rich: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), facing a tough re-election fight in the 2014 Republican primary..."

I don't know how serious the challenges are to McConnell and Cornyn, but at the last quarterly report (end September), Graham had $7 million in the bank, Nancy Mace had $17,000.00, and none of the others reported any donations or expenditures. One, a businessman named Cash, has said he will spend $250,000 of his own money on his challenge.

The last elected incumbent South Carolina Senator to be defeated in his primary was in 1930s, when the Democratic Primary was in effect the general election.

Not to say it might not GET tough, but it is just not correct to portray it as such at this point.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course Senate Republicans can use opposition to the deal to bulk their standing with conservatives in their states. A NET of five GOP votes will be needed for cloture, assuming a filibuster attempt, because there is a chance of Democratic defections over the lack of extension of unemployment benefits.

Perhaps the position of opponents would be clearer if they put up their own proposals, remembering it is necessary to get the agreement of Senate Democrats to pass anything. The alternative is another shutdown, is that seriously what they want?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But at this early juncture, Durbin acknowledged, “there are not five Republicans who have announced they’re for it.”"
---------------------------------------------------------

After the screwing you num-nutz put on the r's with the filibuster rule did you really think life in the senate would be 'business as usual'?

I guess voters really are as dumb as some politicians think we are if Nancy-Boy Lindsey is just now taking his once in oh-maybe-every-six years lurch to the right (he's a rightie all along who just 'appears' to be a RINO!) just in time for the up-coming scrutiny of the press and fellow primary candidates.

I wasn't surprised to see his butt-buddy McCain taking that same kinda-sorta right lurch. Is he coming up for re-election next year too or just supporting Nancy-Boy?

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Graham's 2012 ACU rating was 92, the average Senate Republican was 78. His lifetime score is over 89. There were a handful of perfect scores in 2012, including McConnell.

His apostasies tend to be on high-profile and controversial issues, so many people only think of him in terms of those.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those "high-profile and controversial issues" are the agenda-setting ones.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the bottom line here: a) win the House and Senate in 2014 and then the WH in 2016; or, b) continue to demonstrate to the American people than many of us are willing to leap over a cliff in defense of principle while ending any and all hope of ever winning on the national level? If (a) is your choice then the budget is minor compared to Ocare and Immigration. If (b) is your choice then the whole thing is hopeless.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
False choice. But it doesn't matter. Ryan has completely shafted the people again. It's done. But, hey, now at least we know we're going to take over. What a relief.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The partial gov't shutdown last fall was terrible for Republican poll numbers. Ergo, don't repeat. I support Ryan compromise.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
As much as I don't like it, it's a budget increase of less than $50 Billion. $50 Billion hard earned taxpayer dollars, yes. But only $50 Billion.

I'll argue that's worth the cost of keeping a flipped senate in play next year.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hyperbole in full sway. It's a 5% increase over one year. A trillion here and a trillilon there and pretty soon you're talking real money. And it has absolutely nothing to do with "keeping a flipped senate in play next year".
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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