March 23, 2013
Early this morning, the Senate passed its first budget in four years by a vote of 50 to 49 after a marathon session that began Friday morning and included 562 filed amendments. The Senate approved a budget resolution that relies heavily on $975 billion in new tax revenue to stabilize the growth of the national debt within the next ten years. The Senate budget contains and equal amount of spending cuts ($975 billion), and also turns off $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts scheduled over nine years (sequestration).
But while the Senate plan would bring the deficit down to only $566 billion by 2023, it does not balance like the budget plan approved by the House earlier this week. The House plan bring government taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic programs below the sequestration levels and mandates significant changes to Medicare and the tax code. Negotiations between the two chambers to reconcile the different budget plans will likely be fruitless as the two plans are wildly different.
Congress now begins a two-week recess period, returning to work on Monday, April 8th. At that time, the Senate is expected to take up controversial gun legislation and executive nominations. The gun legislation will likely include background checks, gun-trafficking language, and school safety provisions. The House returns to work Tuesday, April 9th.