Hirono, Schatz Cast Decisive Votes as Senate Passes Trillion Dollar Tax Hike
NYT WASHINGTON March 23, 2013 (excerpt) — After a grueling, all-night debate that ended close to 5 a.m., the Senate on Saturday adopted its first budget in four years, a $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 that would fast-track passage of tax increases, trim spending gingerly and leave the government still deeply in the debt a decade from now.
The 50-49 vote sets up contentious — and potentially fruitless — negotiations with the Republican-dominated House in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan on Saturday, and four Democrats — Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana — also opposed it. All four are Red State Democrats up for re-election in 2014.
“The Senate has passed a budget,” Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman, declared at 4:56 a.m. Saturday.
The House plan ostensibly brings the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the automatic “sequestration” levels now roiling federal programs, and it orders significant changes to Medicare and the tax code.
The Senate plan, in contrast, includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years through legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the Senate plan would leave the government with a $566 billion deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that time....
read … Hawaii Votes Decisive
Schatz statement on his Senate budget vote:
“At its heart, a budget is a reflection of our values and that’s why I’m so pleased to support the budget of Senate Democrats. We finally have a proposal that will enable our economy to continue to recover, protects middle-class families and addresses our deficit. It contains a balance of reductions in spending and reductions in wasteful tax loopholes. The (House) Ryan budget is not balanced and forces middle and lower income families to absorb trillions of dollars in additional pain, all for an additional round of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.”
The last few years have been hard for families across the country and we are still recovering from a very deep recession. But this progress is not fast enough for too many families in Hawaii and across the nation.
“The budget passed by the House Majority Thursday, the Ryan Budget, would set our recovery back. And it would do so on the backs of those who can least afford it – women, our keiki and our kupuna.
“Importantly, (the Senate budget) eliminates sequestration, and replaces it with strategic cuts and commonsense revenues like ensuring the very rich don’t pay lower tax rates than middle-class Americans. And it makes investments in early childhood education, clean energy, national security, our veterans and kapuna.”
CB: Other Budget-Related Votes
— In a voice vote, the Senate passed an amendment co-sponsored by Hirono to oppose using the so-called chained CPI to measure increases in veterans benefits. The chained CPI would provide for smaller annual cost-of-living increases than the CPI. The amendment sends a signal to President Barrack Obama who is open to using the chained CPI to reduce spending. Veterans groups strongly oppose the chained CPI method;
— Schatz highlighted one vote in particular. Both he and Schatz voted with the majority to ensure that employers (must pay for abortion in Obamacare insurance policies)….
— both voted against measure, passed by the Senate, to endorse the Keystone pipeline from Canada to Texas;
— both voted with the majority to defeat a measure to prohibit considering revenue increases while the civilian unemployment rate is above 5.5 percent;
— both voted with the majority to reject the measure ensure the United States government funds its military at higher levels than the militaries of foreign holders of its debt.
— both voted with the majority to defeat a measure to do away with Obamacare;
— both voted with the majority to pass a measure to end subsidies and advantages for “Too Big to Fail” mega-banks.
— Both voted against a measure that also failed that would have created new penalties for abortions performed on minors outside of their home states.