Dem-backed budget narrowly OK'd in Senate

50-49 pre-dawn vote sharply outlines divide with Republicans
2013-03-24T00:00:00Z Dem-backed budget narrowly OK'd in SenateThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

WASHINGTON - An exhausted Senate gave pre-dawn approval Saturday to a Democratic $3.7 trillion budget for next year that embraces nearly $1 trillion in tax increases over the coming decade but shelters domestic programs targeted for cuts by House Republicans.

While their victory was by a razor-thin 50-49 vote, it allowed Democrats to tout their priorities. Yet it doesn't resolve the deep differences the two parties have over deficits and the size of government.

Joining all Republicans voting no were four Democrats who face re-election next year in potentially difficult races: Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., did not vote.

White House spokesman Jay Carney praised the Senate plan, saying in a statement it "will create jobs and cut the deficit in a balanced way."

While calling on both sides to find common ground, Carney did not hold out much hope for compromise with Republicans. The rival budget passed by the GOP-led House cuts social programs too deeply, he said, and fails "to ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected."

The Senate vote came after lawmakers labored through the night on scores of symbolic amendments.

Final approval came at around 2 a.m. Tucson time, capping an extraordinary 20 hours of votes and debate.

The Senate's budget would shrink annual federal shortfalls over the next decade to nearly $400 billion, raise unspecified taxes by $975 billion and cull modest savings from domestic programs.

In contrast, a rival budget approved by the GOP-run House balances the budget within 10 years without boosting taxes.

That blueprint digs deeply into Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs for the needy. It would also transform the Medicare health care program for seniors into a voucherlike system for future recipients.

Analysis: Middle ground is a mirage / A9

How do House, Senate budget plans compare?

How budget proposals by Senate Democrats and House Republicans stack up over the next decade:

Total spending

Senate Democrats: $46.5 trillion

House Republicans: $41.7 trillion

Total revenue

Senate Democrats: $41.2 trillion

House Republicans: $40.2 trillion

10-year deficit

Senate Democrats: $5.4 trillion

House Republicans: $1.4 trillion

National debt at end of 2023

Senate Democrats: $24.4 trillion

House Republicans: $20.3 trillion

Social Security

Senate Democrats: $11.3 trillion

House Republicans: $11.3 trillion

Medicare

Senate Democrats: $6.8 trillion

House Republicans: $6.7 trillion

Health, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program

Senate Democrats: $6.6 trillion

House Republicans: $4.0 trillion

National defense

Senate Democrats: $6.0 trillion

House Republicans: $6.2 trillion

Income security, including housing assistance, benefits and food stamps

Senate Democrats: $5.6 trillion

House Republicans: $5.0 trillion

Sources: Senate Democratic and House Republican budget proposals.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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