The U.S. Senate passed Congress’ first compromised budget resolution in six years Tuesday along a party-line vote of 51–48, with only Ted Cruz and Rand Paul breaking rank and voting against the bill, along with the entire Democratic caucus.
The non-binding legislation amounts to a budget outline which will guide congressional committees as they propose funding levels for government programs for the new fiscal year, starting Oct. 1. The resolution recommends cuts to domestic social, education and infrastructure programs by $5.3 trillion over 10 years.
The entire package also adds $38 billion to Pentagon funding for “war operations”, totaling a cost of $3.87 trillion
While the compromise outlines a plan to balance the budget for the first time in 15 years, the only mandatory instructions for budget committees are to include an repeal of Obamacare in the final language of the bill. All other recommendations are non-enforceable.
The president’s budget plan is only somewhat more ambitious than Congress’, calling for $4 trillion over the same 10-year period . Mr. Obama’s agenda includes $500 billion on infrastructure alone however, would increase taxes, and would not allow for defense spending over legally capped-levels unless funding for domestic programs are also increased.
When a final spending bill is proposed later in 2015, the Senate will be able to pass it with a simple 51-vote majority using special procedural methods. Such a partisan budget that repeals the Affordable Care Act will be vetoed by the president however, and fierce negotiations between Congress and the White House would follow well into the fall.
[Reuters] [Business Insider] [Photo courtesy AP/Evan Vucci]