House Passes Budget 233-196

Posted April 2, 2009 at 6:43pm

House Democrats passed their $3.5 trillion 2010 budget blueprint on a party-line vote Thursday evening, laying the groundwork for overhauls of health care and energy policy, new spending on education and higher taxes on the wealthy.The 233-196 vote came with 20 Democrats voting against the plan, with the Senate expected to follow suit on a similar blueprint later Thursday night. As expected, no Republicans voted for the budget, which GOP leaders lambasted as the most fiscally irresponsible in history because it projects a faster increase in debt than any other budget.Democrats argued that they inherited the red ink, and said their budget would slice the deficit — projected to hit $1.8 trillion this year — by nearly two-thirds in five years.“We’ve never seen anything like it in American history and it is our unwelcome inheritance from the administration that just left town,— said Budget Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.). Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stood firmly behind the inclusion of filibuster-busting reconciliation language in the budget for health care reform.“At the end of the day, if bipartisanship does not yield health care reform, then we will have to move through reconciliation and we hope that that will be the course the Senate will agree to as well,— she said.Spratt argued that the Democratic budget included modest increases of 4.5 percent in spending for defense and a similar amount for non-security spending.It cuts President Barack Obama’s request for discretionary spending by about $7 billion this year, while the Senate plan cuts $15 billion.Republicans charged that the spending will explode when the already enacted $787 billion stimulus package is included.A GOP leadership-backed alternative budget failed on a 137-293 vote, with 38 Republican defections.Republican leaders argued that the Democratic plan, including the stimulus package, would make the economy worse, not better. “The budget before the House, I think, makes the economy worse and will destroy more American jobs,— Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “American families are making sacrifices, they’re tightening their belt, but Washington clearly is not.— Pelosi ripped the GOP budget plan as a “hollow shell.—“It gives increased tax cuts to the wealthy, makes an assault on Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and erases the recovery package, which is a source of hope to so many people,— she said.“The American people want us to find our common ground where we can, but they did not send us here to split the difference. They want real change, and we have come here to make a difference. And we will do just that with this budget that is on the floor today.—