Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Did 35 Democrats Join The GOP To Defeat The Senate Budget?


Schrader also claims he voted against the Senate budget because it didn't cut "entitlements" enough

Wednesday evening, we took a quick look at the House vote on the Progressive Caucus Back To Work Budget. Wednesday the House also voted on the Senate budget. Oddly, it was introduced by South Carolina teabagger Mick Mulvaney (who voted against it). Every Republican voted against it... and it failed 154-261. The Democratic caucus operation is a near-shambles and no one was leading. Nancy is preparing herself to sail away into retirement. Hoyer is conflicted with everything and Clyburn is sidelined. No one is cracking the whip and Democratic Members are just doing whatever they want. 35 of them voted with the Republicans against the Senate budget. Oh, wait-- they weren't just doing whatever they wanted. Many of them-- the freshmen and vulnerable members in red-leaning districts, were counseled by Steve Israel, chairman of the DCCC, to vote with the Republicans. He does that kind of thing; it's a losing strategy that causes low Democratic turnout. It killed the Democrats in 2010... but Israel has learned nothing from the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse.

Among the Democrats who voted against the Senate budget are these 20 Democrats on the DCCC Frontline List, represented the seats Israel sees as the most vulnerable in 2014:
• Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ)
John Barrow (Blue Dog/New Dem-GA)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
• Julia Brownley (CA)
• Cheri Bustos (IL)
Bill Enyart (IL)
Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX)
Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
• Ann McLane Kuster (NH)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
• Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog/New Dem-NC)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
• Bill Owens (New Dem-NY)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Brad Schneider (New Dem-IL)
Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ)
Only half a dozen Frontline Democrats ignored Israel and voted for the Senate budget, Tim Bishop (NY), Lois Capps (CA), Suzan DelBene (WA), Elizabeth Esty (CT), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), and John Tierney (MA). The Hill claims "House Democrats were instructed to vote for the Senate Democratic budget," but I heard from several Members that Steve Israel was urging "vulnerable" incumbents to vote against it.
Blue Dog Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said he voted against the Senate budget because it did not go far enough on entitlements.

"It is not enough entitlement reform in there going forward. It needs to be a more complete and balanced picture and it wasn't bipartisan in the end of the day," Schrader told The Hill.

He said he thinks there is an even chance of a deficit grand bargain this summer, but it will not look anything like the House majority or Senate majority budgets.

"Given the fact that none of these bills are going to pass with any bipartisan votes, it begs the question. The president has teed it up. He has talked about entitlement reform-- not the Paul Ryan approach--he's defended some of the tough things in front of the Democrat caucus," Schrader said.

He said there are many centrist Republicans who would do something to increase revenue in exchange for real entitlement reform.

The Senate budget has been criticized by Republicans for doing too little to cut spending. It would turn off the sequester and includes $975 billion in new taxes. It also includes new spending cuts, but it would increase spending when turning off the sequester is included in the calculation.

...Of the three, the Senate budget was least offensive to Republicans. But even that plan would raise taxes by $1 trillion and still add nearly $5 trillion more to the deficit than the House GOP budget from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

The CBC and Progressive budgets call for trillions more in taxes and spending compared to the Senate plan.

Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) offered the Senate budget as a way to create a contrast with the Ryan budget, and put members on the record on the Senate plan. Mulvaney said he would have rather submitted President Obama's plan, as he did last year, but said Obama's plan is not expected to be released until April.

"This is the first time in modern history that a president has failed to offer a budget before the United States House of Representatives took up the topic," Mulvaney said.

"It's the very first time since the Budget Act of 1921," he said. "I don't know how we're supposed to discuss the president's vision for the nation, as contained in the budget, when it's not here."

"If the Senate thinks it can send us anything like what it has and that can pass, that is never, ever going to happen," Mulvaney said after the vote. "The vote shows that there are a lot of House Democrats who are also uncomfortable with what Senate Democratic leaders are doing."

...Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) thanked Mulvaney for introducing the Senate budget, even though he questioned whether it was just a "stunt."

Still, Van Hollen encouraged members to vote for the Senate budget, which calls for repeal of the sequester and would provide $100 billion for infrastructure projects.

"It's a good thing the gentleman brought to the floor to replace the sequester," Van Hollen said. "This plan that the gentleman has brought forward today, apparently under a sort of a mock bipartisanship, will reduce the deficit in a balanced way, calls for shared responsibility, and certainly does not give folks at the very top a tax break financed by middle-income taxpayers like the Republican proposal does."

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