Budget Resolution With Additional Spending Approved
The Senate on Thursday voted 51-49 to approve a fiscal year 2007 budget resolution, after the addition of more than $16 billion to the $873 billion cap on discretionary spending proposed by President Bush, CongressDaily reports. Prior to final approval, the Senate voted 73-27 to pass an amendment sponsored by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that would add $7 billion to programs under the jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies (Cohn, CongressDaily, 3/17).
The Senate also voted 56-44 to reject an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would have reduced spending for programs under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee, such as Medicare and Medicaid, by $10 billion over five years (Dennis, CQ Today, 3/16).
The additional spending in the Senate budget resolution moved the legislation "further away from President Bush's original plan," after the Senate Budget Committee had previously "stripped some Medicare cuts sought by the president and added other spending before even bringing it to the floor," the New York Times reports (Hulse, New York Times, 3/17).
The Senate Budget Committee also removed from the budget resolution a proposal by Bush to increase spending for health savings accounts (Taylor, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/17).
According to the Times, the additional spending and other changes in the Senate budget resolution "mean that reaching a final budget deal with the House will be difficult, given conservative resistance there to new spending" (New York Times, 3/17).