House, Senate Pass Budget Proposals

Alternatives offered by the CBC and others were considered before the final votes

Virginia Rep. Robert Scott, who was in the unique position of being a member of the House budget committee and the primary author of the CBC proposal, added, “It’s important for the CBC to continue standing up for its priorities. The [committee’s] budget was a good budget, but we felt we could improve on it and by making a few adjustments, we’ve shown how we can make substantially stronger investments in our priorities.”

The CBC alternative would provide greater deficit reductions of $52.9 billion over a five-year period, saving nearly $7 billion in mandatory net interest payments on the national debt, says Scott. The savings proposed by the CBC could be used to make greater investment in healthcare ($18 billion); education, job training and social services ($17 billion); transportation and infrastructure ($8 billion); justice programs ($5.5 billion); and veterans benefits and services ($4.5 billion).

The CBC budget lost by a margin of 318 to 118, but fared a bit better than the plans submitted by the Republican Study Group (322-111), which would have reduced domestic spending and taxes, and the progressive Democrats (348-84), which called for hundreds of billions more on domestic programs. The House Republicans budget, which several GOP members voted against, also failed by a margin of 293 to 137. The latter alternative called for $4.8 trillion less in spending over 10 years than Obama’s budget and would repeal the entire $787 billion economic stimulus package except for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

“A lot of work goes into the base budget and some people just want to support the primary budget,” Scott explained. “Throughout the debate [the CBC’s] position was that the base bill is good, but ours is better.”

Joyce Jones contributed to this article.

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