This afternoon, the Senate will be voting on competing budget plans for the rest of the current fiscal year, the House Republicans’ bill, which cuts $61 billion in spending, and the Senate Democrats’ plan, which cuts only $4.7 billion.
Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “At a time when Washington is borrowing about $4 billion a day, Democrat leaders want to cut about four and a half billion in government spending for the rest of the fiscal year, and then call it a day. In other words, they want to take what amounts to a day and a half long holiday from their out-of-control spending and then return to the status quo for the rest of the year.”
Yet there are a few Democrat senators who seem to understand just how inadequate the proposal from their leaders is. The Hill reports, “Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that she’ll vote against her party’s deficit reduction plan when it comes up for a vote today.” And TPM reports, “‘More cuts, more cuts,’ Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) shouted to reporters when asked what she wanted to see from the President on the budget talks.” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told The Wall Street Journal, “It was a little light on cuts.” And yesterday Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) blasted the Democrat bill, saying it “utterly ignores our fiscal reality.” Manchin added, “[W]e must turn our financial ship around, but the Senate proposal continues to sail forward as if there’s no storm on the horizon.”
But Democrat leaders seem to be suggesting the next step is not getting serious about spending cuts. Rather, they’re advocating for tax hikes in the middle of a recession. Politico writes today, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stepped into the budget negotiations fray Wednesday daring Congress to hit the ‘reset button’ and consider tax hikes alongside spending cuts if they’re serious about reducing the deficit.” Democrat leaders have already proposed a “minivan tax” of $40 billion in new taxes on energy producers at a time when the average price of a gallon of gas has surged past $3.50.
As Leader McConnell said, “At a time when increasing gas prices are already threatening our economic recovery, a minivan tax that some on the other side have proposed won’t solve our nation’s fiscal crisis. But I’ll tell you what it will do: it will destroy jobs and impose a real on burden families every time they fill up at the pump — at a time when people are looking for relief instead. Democrats’ steadfast refusal to cut another dime from the bloated Washington budget has left them no choice, it seems, but to propose raising taxes on American families and small businesses so that they can continue spending at unsustainable levels.”
Senate News Briefing