- The Maine Wire - https://www.themainewire.com -

Senate and House Republicans Look to Reconcile Budgets

Early Friday morning, Senate Republicans passed their first budget since 2006.  The vote was split along party lines 52-46, with no Democrats supporting it and Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) as the only Republicans to vote against the budget.

“The Democrat-led Senate for years refused not only to pass a balanced budget, but any budget at all,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Those days are over, and the proof is passage of a balanced plan with ideas that Congress’ nonpartisan analysts tell us would boost jobs, raise income and drive economic growth.”

The Senate budget followed closely on the footsteps of the GOP controlled House’s budget.

The House budget passed Wednesday, and included cuts to domestic spending, a repeal of ObamaCare, and overhauls of the Medicaid and Medicare systems.  The budget would shift Medicaid from it’s current status quo to a block grant system.

“I believe this common sense bill is the first step in helping put our federal government on the right fiscal track,” said Congressman Bruce Poliquin. “The House budget proposal balances the books in less than ten years, and does so without raising taxes. Our proposal is a stark contrast to the President’s budget that never balances and raises taxes on hard-working American families and small businesses.”

House and Senate Republicans will now work to pass a joint conference agreement, which if successful, would move the budget into the process of reconciliation where Republicans could make changes to the budget and not be subjected to the Senate’s filibuster rules.  While many spending priorities are similar between the two proposals, the Senate budget does not include the House’s significant changes to Medicare and Medicaid, or its full repeal of ObamaCare.

Although 2011’s sequestration cuts remain intact, both budgets include increased spending to the Pentagon’s war fund, a technical workaround that allows them to raise military spending.

Maine’s elected officials were split along party lines, with Republicans Senator Susan Collins and Representative Bruce Poliquin voting for their respective budgets, and Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree and Independent Senator Angus King opposing them.