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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Senate Democrats release government funding proposal; votes likely next week

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated 3:30 p.m.

Senate Democrats on Friday introduced their plan for keeping the federal government funded through September, with a vote on the measure as well as a House-passed proposal expected to come as early as next Tuesday.

The Senate Democratic plan, which was put forth one day after a bipartisan, bicameral meeting between congressional leaders and Vice President Joe Biden, includes about $6.5 billion in cuts offered by the White House on Thursday.

In announcing the measure, S. 149, Senate Democrats argued that their plan "makes prudent cuts that will allow the government to meet its obligations to the American people, while sparing our economy from further damage at a time of great uncertainty. It makes necessary investments in a limited number of targeted programs that are essential to national security and for maintaining the most basic of government services."

They also took aim at many of the House-passed cuts as "simply irresponsible, made in order to meet an arbitrary number used as part of a campaign promise."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked consent on the Senate floor Friday afternoon to hold votes Tuesday on both the Senate Democratic plan and the House-passed measure, H.R. 1, which would cut $61 billion from current levels.

"If H.R. 1 doesn't pass - and it won't pass - and if ours doesn't pass, we at least know where we stand, Mr. President, to move this ball down the road a little further," Reid said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) temporarily objected to Reid's move, however, arguing that lawmakers need more time to look at the specifics of the Democratic bill.

"We need to have a chance over the weekend to take a look at what our friends have offered here and it could well be that by Monday, we will conclude this proposal that the Majority Leader has laid out is the best way to go forward," McConnell said. "We'll continue to talk about that over the weekend."


Senate Democrats charged that the move by McConnell was an attempt to block an up-or-down vote on House Republicans' spending plan, which Senate Republicans have been calling for since its passage in the House last month.

"By objecting to an up-or-down vote on the House bill, Senate Republicans are agreeing with us that the proposal is too extreme to pass as is," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "Now that they have admitted they want changes to it just like we do, the real negotiations on the budget can finally begin."

McConnell's office contended that that wasn't the case, noting that Reid and McConnell are slated to consult with their members and each other on the plan.

"Sen. Schumer must not have been on the floor at the time and missed the exchange between the Senate leaders where they discussed working together over the weekend to set up votes on both the House bill and the Democrats' status quo bill," said McConnell's deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart.


Reid and McConnell are slated to consult with their members and each other on the plan.

In addition to the debate over keeping the federal government funded, the Senate is also dealing with a patent reform bill; action on that is expected to wrap up by Tuesday morning, meaning that Tuesday would be the earliest the Senate could take up the government funding measures.

Neither the Senate Democratic plan nor the House-passed bill is likely to garner the 60 votes necessary to avert a filibuster; the failure of both measures, however, would allow House and Senate leaders to make the case to their rank-and-file members that a compromise is necessary.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 4, 2011; 3:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Neither the Senate Democratic plan nor the House-passed bill is likely to garner the 60 votes necessary to avert a filibuster..."

Enough with the filibusters, please. Just vote on the proposals and stop screwing around with the national budget and everything else. We the public are sick and tired of both the Republicans (in particular) and the Democrats in Congress playing politics like children instead of acting like adults.

The federal budget is a complex budget and the nation can no longer afford either party's political gamesmanship. Grow up and earn your salaries. Stop the political demagoguery -- Republicans stop creating straw dogs by lieing about the nature of the budget so much and Democrats stop pretending that the bulk of the budget -- mandatory programs like social security -- don't need to be tweaked now to avoid severe cuts later on.

We all know that the Republicans act like children -- but if the Democrats don't wake up, they'll turn the nation red in Nov. 2012 and have only themselves to blame.

Posted by: dl49 | March 4, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Boner and the Repugs have done nothing but read an edited version of the constitution on C SPAN, hold a ceremonial vote to repeal health care reform and pass a couple of stupid anti abotion bills....


I've got news for the extremist Republican party:


Now that you have some actual power again (the House) you won't be able to get away with spending all of your time throwing verbal bombs at the Dems, going golfing and then hitting the DC cocktail circuit at night every day.


You either CREATE JOBS or you will be gone in 2012 so fast that your heads will spin!


Chop chop Repugs!


You've got two years!


Time's a wastin'!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | March 4, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Not a good time to move back to Hooverism...

Posted by: Geopolitics1 | March 4, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

With the aid of Senators Reid and Schumer, the donkey gave birth to a mouse!


Posted by: Crmudgeon | March 4, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The only conclusion you can draw is the Democrats are not serious about cutting spending.

Posted by: sales7 | March 4, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

50 years ago $6.5 billion was big money, even for our federal government. Today, $6.5 billion compared to our federal government spending is equivalent to a pimple on the ass of time.
Like president Obama's proposed budget the Democrat proposed cost saving is a joke on its face!
Senators Schumer and Reid need to take a refresher course in math so they can understand what all the zeros behind a whole number really means.

Posted by: rteske | March 4, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

Kwame is using the 1983 mail truck.

mileage and lunch to boot

.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | March 4, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

WAKE UP AMERICA! The GOP has put us on the road to FASCISM.
"Now some members of Congress seem to want to force a government showdown over all this. They are saying there will be no shared sacrifice for the rich, only sacrifices from the poor and middle-class, or we will shut down the government. The only people whose lives have returned to normal in America are the ones who precipitated our financial and economic crisis in the first place. They have all returned to record profits, while many others are still struggling with unemployment, stagnant wages, loss of benefits, home foreclosures, and more. "
http://blog.sojo.net/2011/02/24/this-is-not-fiscal-conservatism-its-just-politics/

Posted by: removeinfo1 | March 4, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Republican plans are fantasy. I don't want to live in Somalia. You shouldn't either. So hey, how bout those tax cuts for billionaires and lack of defense cuts?

Getting serious? Piss off, McConnell.

Posted by: ExConservative | March 4, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

HaHaHaHa 6.6 Billion! HaHaHaHa

They still don't understand the problem, or they don't care about the problem!

Posted by: Prof-Dr-G | March 4, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I THINK ANY BILL THAT FAVORS THE REP OR SENATOR HOME STATE CONFLICT OF INTEREST SHOULD STOP HIS OR HER VOTE
PAY RAISE SHOULD BE ON THE BALLOT FOR THE VOTER[TAXPAYERS] TO APPROVE.
SENATORS AND REP. SHOULD BE PAID ONLY FOR THE DAYS THEY ARE IN SESSION NOT OUT CAMPAIGNING
I DON'T SHOW UP I DON'T GET PAID.

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 5, 2011 12:03 AM | Report abuse

A BALANCED BUGET IS VERY POSSIBLE ........

We need revenue that "our elected" representatives just will not address and it's there!!
THINK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING, if possible with an open mind!!

Has either political party had the "guts" to considered or do any of the following???:

Eliminate tax deductions given to certain large corporation that have not paid any taxes in years. Like Bank Of America, Price WaterhouseCooper, ITT, Bechtel, Boeing, and GE for example.

Eliminate those Oil Subsidies for these large international oil companies.
These profitable companies pay almost no tax & get help from out tax dollar.

Eliminate all those tax & tariff reductions plus "breaks," that Congress voted large companies that are taking American jobs over seas. Also, just mirror the tariffs & taxes that countries like China, Japan, South Korea and the European Countries are putting on American goods & services.

Rein in the large Banks & Wall Street firms by reenacting The Glass-Steagall Act; it just might bring some order into our financial institutions and markets. Oh yes this worked until it was eliminated under President Clinton.
Of course these financial firms do not want this done.

Plus just so Congress shares in the pain, just eliminate the special health care & retirement plans that Congress voted itself. Social Security can be stabilized if Congress was part of it and stopped raiding it!!

So far all I see is cuts that would hurt the middle class ........ if this continues, there will be no middle class to "put the burden" on. Then what??

Whatever happened to that government by the people for the people?
It seems to have vanished........ guess we would need lobbyists to throw money at these career politicians!!

We now have a Cashrarocy, instead of a Democracy in this country.
The best government that the moneyed can buy!!

Oh the uncollected taxes from the above sources are estimated to be about 14 trillion dollars!!

Posted by: bkarpus | March 5, 2011 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Obama: What the GOP doesn’t understand is that giving the heart attack victim CPR may give the victim bruises or even a broken rib.

Surely, Obama is not this stupid. He's just hoping the American people are.

Posted by: panola60 | March 5, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Settle down all youze! The Repub $60B proposal and $100B threat are in many ways ill-advised. The Repubs know that, but they have a campaign promise to (make a lame attempt to) fulfill. The Dems have low- balled with their $6B proposal.

This is NEGOTIATIONS folks. The only (slow) way anything gets accomplished in a constitutional republic based on a representative democracy.
So cool yer jets!

Posted by: garmarn | March 5, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The budget fight is critical so Odumbo sent dummy Biden over to Congress to work on it.
Now the clown is leaving the country. He's obviously been watching his incompetent boss, who leaves every time something important needs to be dealt with.
Disgusting, but typical for these amateurs.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 5, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama has no incentive to stop spending. All his constituents are sucking on the government tit.

From the beginning of his term, it was clear that Obama was not going to serve as President for all Americans. He hates business, hates the rich, and has no clue what to do with a Capitalist economy. Harvard gave him a firm foundation in socialism and Obama has surrounded himself with academics with like beliefs. His only interest is in keeping power and he sincerely believes that serving Unions, government and providing taxpayer funded jobs and entitlements will accomplish that.

November 2012 can't come soon enough!

Posted by: 2012frank | March 5, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, I'm starting to like Dirty Harry a lot better. Stay tough, Harry, you're right on.

Posted by: dudh | March 5, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I want to know when raising the Federal Income tax rate on the top 20% of wage/income earners is going to be put on the table (or something like that). Given our current situation it must be obvious to EVERYONE that EVERYTHING hast to be on the table to help us cut our annual deficit and pay down the National Debt. Entitlements, Defense, Discretionary Spending (which is ALL that they've cut so far); EVERYTHING needs to be an option. And at the top of the list should be Federal Income Tax increases. With the Bush era tax cut extension of last fall (which will have cost our country nearly $1Trillion by 2015) everyone is acting like it's a done deal for (at least) the next two years. It should not be! If the GOP wants to show that they are TRULY fiscal conservatives (and not in the way that every Republican since Reagan has claimed to be) THEY should propose repealing the Bush e.t.c.e for AT LEAST the top 20% of wage/income earners. If we're going to cut literally Trillions of Dollars from the lower 80%, shouldn't some extra burden (and I use that word after much consideration) on the "richest" (a relative term, not the same as "the rich") AT LEAST BE ON THE TABLE?!? Why isn't anyone talking about something like this? The extension is not (and certainly should not be) an irrevocable deal. If you can take away 50 years of collective bargaining rights from unions, how hard could it be to repeal and replace a 5 month old extension of a ridiculous tax cut...

Posted by: SquawCraw | March 5, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

everyone likes firemen.

the fire department is a government program.

everyone pays for the fire department (through taxes), but only a few people actually use it.

and yet... whether you are a liberal or a conservative... chances are you still love the fire department.

here's an idea:

look at every government program you can think of and see if it passes the fire department test:

you PRAY you never need it - but THANK GOD it's there when you do.

don't demagogue the program, simply study it and apply the test.

this is the best way to figure out what programs you'd like to see cut and which you'd like to fixed/expanded - without anger or judgement or demagoguery.

Posted by: johnlindauer | March 5, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Need to take a serious look at the Dept. of Education. Ask the hard questions, too.
Considering the U.S. has fallen way behind other countries, its time for Real change.
Perhaps get rid of Dept. of Ed. altogether.
States can do a better job.

Posted by: ohioan | March 6, 2011 12:49 AM | Report abuse

cuts may hurt the republicans the most
the deficit spending they did will come up and it will be trimmed
then cut overlapping of both partys

YOU JUST CAN'T CUT ALL THE BLOOD SUPPLY TILL YOU REPROGRAM
!! OH!! ARE THE RICH GOING TO CRY.

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 6, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

cuts may hurt the republicans the most
the deficit spending they did will come up and it will be trimmed
then cut overlapping of both partys

YOU JUST CAN'T CUT ALL THE BLOOD SUPPLY TILL YOU REPROGRAM
ARE THE RICH GOING TO CRY.

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 6, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Congress needs to sit down and work this budget like adults. The $61billion additional cuts the republicans are asking for may be too much. The $6billion the democrates have proposed is on top of the $50billion they have already proposed. Lets not forget, the president and congress have already frozen gov. workers pay. Not to mention, cutting funding from the Dep. of Education even more would be a huge mistake. That doesn't help our country in any way, it just makes it worse than it already is. There are ways of budgeting the deficit without hurting the American people in the process, too bad congress is too busy pointing fingers to figure it out.

Posted by: naynayaz | March 7, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Congress needs to sit down and work this budget like adults. The $61billion additional cuts the republicans are asking for may be too much. The $6billion the democrates have proposed is on top of the $50billion they have already proposed. Lets not forget, the president and congress have already frozen gov. workers pay. Not to mention, cutting funding from the Dep. of Education even more would be a huge mistake. That doesn't help our country in any way, it just makes it worse than it already is. There are ways of budgeting the deficit without hurting the American people in the process, too bad congress is too busy pointing fingers to figure it out.

Posted by: naynayaz | March 7, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

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