Custom Search

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Senate Passes Non-Binding $3.7 Trillion Budget, Including Amendment Approving Keystone XL Pipeline

By Susan Duclos

It took four years but finally the Democratically controlled Senate passed a $3.7 trillion budget with a vote of 50-49. Included as an amendment was a vote to put the Senate on record as approving the Keystone XL Pipeline with a vote of 62-37.

The Senate on Friday voted 62-37 to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in an amendment to Senate budget.

Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-N.D.) amendment was largely symbolic, but served as a clear statement that the Senate backs the pipeline.

"It puts the Senate on record in support of the Keystone pipeline project. And that's just appropriate," Hoeven said. "The Department of State has done four environmental impact statements over the last five years — four — and said there are no significant environmental impacts. And it's time that we in the Senate stepped up with the American people."

All Republicans voted in favor. The Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.).

The Senate's budget is non-binding unless it is passed through the Republican controlled House of Representatives, who already tested the waters on the Senate's budget plan and rejected it with 35 House Democrats voting against the bill.

Four years the Senate has not passed a budget and when they finally do, it comes with a $3.7 trillion price tag and never balances the nation's budget.

NYT provides details:

The Senate plan, by contrast, includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to goose the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the Senate plan would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window. 

Democratic Senators Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) all joined with Republicans in the Senate to vote against the Senate's tax and spend budget. (Roll call here)

The only good news is that the fiscal path the Democrats laid out in their budget resolution won’t become law,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.