Senate Democrats Unveil Spending Proposal

Senate Democrats “on Friday introduced their plan for keeping the federal government funded through September, with a vote on the measure as well as a House-passed proposal expected to come as early as next Tuesday,” the Washington Post reports.

The Senate Democratic plan, which was put forth one day after a bipartisan, bicameral meeting between congressional leaders and Vice President Joe Biden, includes about $6.5 billion in cuts offered by the White House on Thursday.

In announcing the measure, S. 149, Senate Democrats argued that their plan "makes prudent cuts that will allow the government to meet its obligations to the American people, while sparing our economy from further damage at a time of great uncertainty. It makes necessary investments in a limited number of targeted programs that are essential to national security and for maintaining the most basic of government services."

They also took aim at many of the House-passed cuts as "simply irresponsible, made in order to meet an arbitrary number used as part of a campaign promise."

Floor action surrounding possible votes:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked consent on the Senate floor Friday afternoon to hold votes Tuesday on both the Senate Democratic plan and the House-passed measure, H.R. 1, which would cut $61 billion from current levels.

"If H.R. 1 doesn’t pass – and it won’t pass – and if ours doesn’t pass, we at least know where we stand, Mr. President, to move this ball down the road a little further," Reid said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) temporarily objected to Reid’s move, however, arguing that lawmakers need more time to look at the specifics of the Democratic bill.

"We need to have a chance over the weekend to take a look at what our friends have offered here and it could well be that by Monday, we will conclude this proposal that the Majority Leader has laid out is the best way to go forward," McConnell said. "We’ll continue to talk about that over the weekend."

Meanwhile, The Hill notes that Reid is not a big fan of the House proposal.

“This will go down in history as probably one of the worst pieces of legislation that we’ve drafted in the history of this Congress." Reid said in a floor speech.

Update: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a press release statement today arguing that by “objecting to an up-or-down vote on the House bill, Senate Republicans are agreeing with us that the proposal is too extreme to pass as is. Now that they have admitted they want changes to it just like we do, the real negotiations on the budget can finally begin.”

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