On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted down the budget plan unveiled by Senate Democrats last week. The plan failed by a vote of 154-261. Although Dem leadership whipped in support of the budget plan, 35 House Democrats defected and joined the GOP caucus in rejecting the plan.
The Senate Dem blueprint obviously hasn’t yet passed that chamber. It was offered in the House by SC GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney, in an effort to get House Democrats on record for or against the plan. The failure of the plan also shows that the Senate Dem budget, as currently drafted, cannot pass the House.
The Senate budget plan is the first blueprint Democrats have offered in four years. The plan makes clear that they didn’t use the hiatus to engage in deep-thinking about controlling the budget. The Dem plan raises taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade and even increases net spending by $600 billion above the current baseline. It never achieves balance and adds more than $7 trillion to the national debt.
It is an unserious plan that harkens back to a time, years ago, before there were growing worries about America’s budget course. It envisions a time where massive deficits are a fact of life and debt can be accumulated with abandon.
The vote also shows that Democrats are not as unified on the budget as the media indicates. The 35 defectors represent almost 20% of the Democrats voting on Wednesday. Had around 20% of the GOP caucus defected on a major issue like the budget, the Washington press corps would be wringing their hands about the inability of Speaker Boehner to control his caucus.
That said, the vote contains some glimmer of hope. A budget plan that hikes spending, increases the debt and doesn’t control spending has been rejected by 35 Democrats. That is, at least, a start.