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With Budget Votes, Democrats Clear Key Hurdle

When Democrats took control of the House and Senate in January 2007, there was one major question they faced after 12 years in the minority: Could they govern?

The jury is still out on that one, but Democrats did clear a key hurdle today with the House's passage of a $1 trillion budget resolution for fiscal 2009. The Senate passed the same measure yesterday, marking the first time since 2000 that both chambers of Congress have agreed on a budget resolution during an election year.

This is something less than the Superbowl of legislative victories; the budget doesn't actually spend any money, it merely lays out a blueprint for future spending (one that needn't even include expenditures for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, since those funds usually move in "emergency" bills outside of the regular budget). But the fact is that House and Senate Democrats still getting reaccustomed to majority status were actually able to agree on a set of spending priorities and muscle it through both chambers in an election year.

Now Democrats can savor their win for, say, three or four days. Then they have to get back to work on the Iraq supplemental, climate change legislation, a terrorist surveillance bill and all the other measures on which they haven't been so successful.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 5, 2008; 4:22 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , House , Purse Strings , Senate  
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What's distinctive about this issue is that the budget resolution DOES NOT require the President's signature. Therefore, there's no issue of veto threats or actual vetoes. Pretty much everything else Congress does is subject to Presidential veto. It's unrealistic to expect much else to get through (until next January) under these circumstances.

Posted by: Andy Glassberg | June 9, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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