Congress Votes on Budgets and Debt Limit

June 1st, 2011 by Lee Eldridge

CongressA couple interesting tidbits from Washington this last week.

The Budget Vote
In the Senate, four different budgets came to the floor and were voted on by senators. All were defeated. I did some googling over the weekend to read the coverage from the press. Virtually every story detailed how the “controversial” Paul Ryan budget had been defeated 40-57. And at least half of the stories I read from the major media outlets completely ignored that President Obama’s budget had been voted down 0-97.

Here’s one sample article from ABC News. The headline is “Senate Shoots Down Controversial Ryan Budget & President Obama’s Plan, Too”. At least ABC News mentioned Obama’s budget, which they must not consider controversial at all. The explanation from ABC News, which echoed the rest of the mainstream media when the Obama budget was mentioned, was that the Democrats were “voting against it because they believe it is outdated”.

I have a problem with this explanation. The President gave a speech outlining some different priorities than the budget proposal he had released just a couple months ago, but has never actually released an updated budget. His original budget proposal is still displayed on the White House website. And for that matter, the democrats in the Senate have not proposed a budget in more than 750 days. So the President’s budget proposal IS the most recent budget proposed by Democrats.

The Debt Ceiling Vote
In another vote that was purely political, the House voted on a “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling by about $2 trillion. The President has been requesting a clean bill on a debt ceiling increase, meaning that there are no budget cuts or other proposals tied to the bill. There were 114 Democrats in the House who had signed a pledge in support of President Obama’s preference for a clean bill. But when the vote came to the floor, it went down 318-97 with 7 Democrats voting “present”. Nearly half of the Democrats voted against the bill. Of the 114 Democrats who had signed the pledge for a clean bill, 29 ended up voting AGAINST the clean debt ceiling bill.

This bill was expected to fail, and was intended to fail. The only question was which Democrats would vote for or against the bill. And who would cowardly vote “present”.

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