The U.S. House of Representatives approved President Barack Obama’s proposed $3.55 trillion 2010 budget on Thursday by a vote of 233 to 196. As you can see from the roll call, all three Democrats representing Iowa voted for the budget: Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Leonard Boswell (IA-03). Every House Republican voted against Obama’s budget, including Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05).
Twenty House Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the budget (Dennis Kucinich plus a minority of the Blue Dog caucus). But it’s notable that most Blue Dogs, like Boswell, supported this budget. Obama has met twice with the Blue Dog caucus this year, most recently on March 30.
House Republicans offered an alternative budget proposal with all kinds of crazy ideas in it, like privatizing Medicare, giving the wealthy more tax cuts, and freezing most non-defense discretionary federal spending. As you can see from the roll call, Tom Latham was among the 28 Republicans who joined House Democrats in voting down the GOP budget alternative. Steve King was among the 137 Republicans who voted yes.
White House officials were right to mock the GOP’s budget alternative as a “joke.” Freezing federal spending is a good way to turn a severe economic recession into a depression.
Soon after the House budget vote, I received press releases from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee slamming Latham and King for voting against a wide range of tax cuts contained in the budget resolution. I’ve posted those after the jump.
I suspect that the the DCCC is not putting out statements attacking the House Democrats who voted against the budget, and I’m seeking a comment from their communications staff about whether my hunch is correct. DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen warned on Thursday that liberal groups supporting primary challengers against unreliable House Democrats could cost the party seats in 2010. I wonder why we are supposed to look the other way when members of our own party take positions that the DCCC finds atrocious in House Republicans.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate approved a 2010 budget resolution late on Thursday after a nearly 12-hour marathon of votes on various amendments. David Waldman (formerly known as Kagro X) gives you the play-by-play from yesterday’s Senate action at Congress Matters. The final vote in the Senate was 55-43 (roll call here). Iowa’s Tom Harkin voted yes, along with all Senate Democrats except for Evan Bayh of Indiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who voted with Republicans, and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who did not vote. The 41 Senate Republicans, including Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, voted no.
CNN went over the key similarities and differences between the House and Senate budget resolutions. Most important difference, in my opinion:
[House Democrats] also included language that allows for the controversial procedure called “budget reconciliation” for health care, a tool that would limit debate on major policy legislation.
Senate Democrats did not include reconciliation in their version of the budget. The matter is guaranteed to be a major partisan sticking point when the two chambers meet to hammer out a final version of next year’s spending plan. If it passes, it would allow the Senate to pass Obama’s proposed health care reform without the threat of a Republican-led Senate filibuster.
Notably, both the House and Senate budget bills “do away with Obama’s request for an additional $250 billion, if needed, in financial-sector bailout money.” Thank goodness for that.
Any comments or speculation regarding federal tax or spending policies are welcome in this thread.