Increased spending, higher taxes and ignored entitlement reform
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, voted against the Senate version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Budget Resolution after he and other colleagues were unsuccessful at fixing the bill brought forward by the Majority party. The final product had few changes from the blueprint that Crapo voted against in the committee mark-up. Following the mandated 50 hours of debate and votes on over 100 amendments, the Senate approved the budget resolution by a vote of 50 to 49. Four Democrats joined all Republicans in voting against the Senate budget.
"For almost four years, the party that controls the U.S. Senate has ignored the law by not bringing a budget to the floor," Crapo said. "Unfortunately, the budget that was voted on today ignores the dire fiscal situation facing our country. Americans everywhere continue to experience a slow economic recovery, magnified by the continued tax-and-spend policies coming out of Washington. By introducing a budget, the Senate had an opportunity to control spending and put the nation on a responsible financial course. Instead, this budget increases spending by 62 percent over the next decade, raises taxes up to $1.5 trillion and does nothing to reform unsustainable entitlement programs that, if left unchanged, will soon be insolvent. Bottom line, this budget adds $7.3 trillion to our debt and as was discovered in the mark-up, offers zero deficit reduction in the first year. Further, if Congress continues its habit of neglecting to adhere to the budget it adopts, the deficit reduction claimed in the out years will never be achieved.
"Americans are frustrated, and I share that frustration. Businesses, families and even the state of Idaho balance their budgets. The federal government should do the same. This proposed budget did not even come close. Congress cannot continue to kick the can down the road-time is running out. Washington must stop growing the size of government and start putting policies in place that encourage job growth and economic sustainability."
Crapo was successful at keeping the funding for the Crime Victims Fund from being raided by Congress and the Administration for other areas of the budget. Funded through the fines and fees paid by those that commit domestic violence, these monies go to support the victims' service organizations and provides compensation to victims of domestic and sexual crimes and comes at no cost to the taxpayer. This amendment was part of the legislation sent to the floor from the Budget Committee. It was agreed to on a bipartisan voice vote.
On the floor, Crapo offered three amendments; one was approved by unanimous consent, while two were unsuccessful.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, Crapo joined Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) in introducing an amendment that would help prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being used as piggy banks to offset costs associated with unrelated policies that increase the deficit. The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from the full Senate by unanimous consent.
The second amendment was first offered during the debate on the President's health care law that would have prevented tax increases on individuals making less than $200,000 and families making less than $250,000. Despite initial bipartisan support, the amendment failed along party lines, 45-54. Click here to watch Senator Crapo discuss the amendment on the Floor.
Crapo's final amendment would require that the Democrats' promised level of health entitlement savings be included in their reconciliation instructions. The Majority party's budget assumes more than $1 trillion in tax increases with $975 billion of that increase coming from a reconciliation instruction. In addition, the budget assumes $275 billion in health care entitlement savings, but does not include a reconciliation instruction for those health savings. Had this amendment been agreed to, the instruction to health savings would have been included and, therefore, a top priority. The amendment was not adopted, 47-52. To view video of Senator Crapo discussing the amendment, click here.
The next step for the budget would be a Conference Committee with the budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Despite the completion of budgets by both chambers of Congress, the President has still not submitted his budget which, according to law, was due in February.