US Senate passes budget after 4 years

US Senate passes budget after 4 years

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US Senate passes budget after 4 years

The US Senate gave pre-dawn approval to a Democratic $3.7 trillion budget.

The U.S. Senate approved its first budget resolution in four years early March 23 after a marathon all-night voting session, setting up a political duel with the Republican-held House.

The sweeping plan for fiscal year 2014, the first budget blueprint passed by the Democrat-led Senate under President Barack Obama since 2009, squeaked past by the narrowest of margins, a 50-49 vote with no Republican support.

The plan, shepherded through by Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, seeks nearly $1 trillion in new revenue over the next decade, mostly through the closure of tax loopholes that favor the wealthy, and an equal amount in reductions to government spending.

The House of Representatives on March 21 adopted its own budget resolution, which seeks to reach balance within 10 years through significant reductions in federal spending, the overhaul of entitlements like Medicare and the repeal of Obama’s health care law.

The glaring partisanship of Congress ensures that neither plan will be enacted into law. Instead, they will serve as the starting points for a broader debate this year over budget policy.

The White House said the Senate’s budget would “create jobs and cut the deficit in a balanced way,” and called on lawmakers to find “common ground” as it slammed the Republican plan.

Leaders in the Senate and House are now expected to bring the chambers to conference as lawmakers head into what is increasingly likely to be a summer showdown over the US federal borrowing limit.