After Four Years, Senate Passes a Budget

Senators worked late Friday night and finally managed to pass a budget, albeit narrowly. The final vote was 50-49 with no Republicans voting for the budget and four Democrats defecting.

The Senate budget is front loaded with $100 billion in stimulus spending and calls for $975 billion in new taxes in the form of closed tax "loopholes" over ten years. The Democratic plan also reverses the sequestration cuts that went into effect at the beginning of this month and replaces them with alternative cuts. However there is still strong disagreement about whether the Democratic plan double-counts those cuts.

If enacted, the Senate plan would not balance the budget within the budget window. There would still be an estimated $566 billion deficit in the 10th year. All told, the debt would increase by $5.2 trillion over the next decade under the plan.

The new taxes in the Senate plan are left intentionally vague. Forbes notes that the 345 page "committee report" devotes just six paragraphs to describing the source of this new revenue. The bill does mention "the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations" but the only specifics are the elimination of a tax break on corporate jets and one on carried interest for hedge fund managers. Together those two might total $20 billion over 10 years.

In addition to the vote on the budget the Senate also considered over 500 amendments nearly 100 of which were voted on Friday night. Amendments introduced by Republicans to overturn the Affordable Care Act or cut back on taxes associated with it were defeated.


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