National: Senate passes first budget since 2009

By Donny Kendal

In a 50 to 49 vote over the weekend, the United States Senate passed its first federal budget in four years.

According to The Hill Newspaper, the plan relies on $975 billion in new projected tax revenues. The budget will include cuts to projected spending both Medicare and Medicaid. These cuts are in place of the $1.2 trillion of automatic reductions that was part of the sequestration.

Senate Democrats see the passage as a victory. Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray said, “The Senate Budget takes the balanced and responsible approach to tackling our fiscal and economic challenges that the vast majority of families across the country support.” White House spokesman Jay Carney said the budget would “cut the deficit in a balanced way.” Some Senators on the other side of the aisle are not as pleased with the plan.

As reported by the Weekly Standard, the top Republican Senator on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, blasted the plan.

“The Senate budget increases taxes, increases spending, and adds $7.3 trillion to our debt,” said Sessions. He said the plan “never balances” the budget. At the final vote, the entire GOP caucus voted against the plan.

Now this budget must be reconciled with the Paul Ryan budget that was passed in the House. This will not be an easy task because the two plans have major differences. The $5.7 trillion in cuts proposed by the Ryan budget dwarf those in the Senate plan.