April 09, 2014, 05:26 pm
House kills Obama budget 2-413
By Cristina Marcos
The House on Wednesday handily rejected a GOP budget alternative based on President Obama's 2015 spending blueprint.
It was defeated 2-413, following a pattern seen in recent years in House votes to overwhelmingly reject Obama's budget proposals. Today's vote is just slightly better than the unanimous vote against Obama's budget in 2012.
The two "yes" votes came from Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jim Moran (D-Va.), who is retiring.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) offered a budget alternative based on Obama's budget plan as a substitute amendment to the House GOP budget. Mulvaney made this move as a way to force Democrats to go on the record about the president's spending plans.
But Democrats have refused to play along, and have derided these GOP-sponsored options as a political tactic. Earlier in the day, House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) urged fellow Democrats in a "Dear Colleague" letter to vote against the Mulvaney amendment, calling it a "political stunt."
Van Hollen also argued that Mulvaney's amendment did not truly represent the president's budget, and complained that the GOP had only allotted 20 minutes of debate, split evenly between each side.
"I thought we didn't even want to take up thousand-plus page bills. And yet now, supposedly, we're going to debate and vote on something that is over 2,000 pages," Van Hollen said.
But Republicans rejected these complaints, and defended the idea of consider Obama's latest proposal as a way to let the House consider all budget options.
"Any time the president of the United States takes the time to produce a budget, it merits a debate," Mulvaney said. "I think it's a valid discussion we should have every year."
Mulvaney also offered the president's budget as a mock alternative in 2012, which was rejected 0-414. Republicans could not offer it last year because the president's budget was submitted late — instead, Mulvaney tried to offer a blank sheet of paper to represent Obama's budget, but it was not made in order.
This year, the Obama administration proposed spending $3.14 trillion in 2015, which is higher than the Republican plan to spend $2.92 trillion.
The House rejected two other budget alternatives on Wednesday offered by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The Congressional Black Caucus 2015 budget proposes $3.26 trillion in spending in 2015, and it would also restore the cuts to food stamps and extend unemployment insurance. Democrats said it would reverse cuts to domestic spending programs in the House GOP budget.
"This Republican budget rigs the system sos that only the children of the well-off and well-connected can get ahead," said Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).
The House rejected that plan in a 116-300 vote.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget substitute provided $3.2 trillion in 2015, offset partly with higher income taxes on millionaires. Its provisions include repealing sequestration cuts and allowing states to implement single-payer health systems under ObamaCare. The proposal would also assume implementation of immigration reform.
"This is exactly the version of what Republicans don't understand: that you've got to invest in the economy in order to reap benefits from the economy," said Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
But the House turned away this proposal as well, in a 89-327 vote that saw 103 Democrats vote against it.
A final vote on adoption of the House GOP budget is expected Thursday, after consideration of two other budget substitutes offered by the Republican Study Committee and the House Democratic Caucus.
— This story was updated at 5:44 p.m.