Conrad Includes Reconciliation Instructions in Budget Plan

Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:45pm

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) unveiled key details of his budget blueprint Tuesday evening, including filibuster-busting reconciliation instructions for a future jobs package alongside stiff new limits on spending that would slash the deficit by $671 billion more than President Barack Obama proposed over five years.

The reconciliation instructions are the most significant piece of any budget resolution because they give the majority the power to pass budget-related items with a simple majority vote under strict time constraints. Rank-and-file Democrats urged Conrad to include them as a check against continued obstructionism by Republicans on a host of issues.

But the discretionary budget caps are also important, and Conrad’s plan freezes non-security discretionary spending and spends less than Obama proposed.

“Our budget plan significantly cuts spending and deficits and takes critical steps to put the nation back on a sound fiscal course,” Conrad said in a statement.

The blueprint would shrink the deficit dramatically, from $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010 to $545 billion in fiscal 2015.

However, Conrad’s blueprint only shrinks the budget that much because he does not account for extending relief for the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax beyond two years. Certain other tax breaks are only extended through 2011, although the budget allows tax cuts for the middle class passed in 2001 and 2003 to be extended permanently.

The Budget Committee will begin marking up the budget Wednesday afternoon.