Sunday, March 24, 2013

US Senate Passes Their First Budget In 4 Years; Landrieu Tries To Speed Up Royalty Payments

The U.S. Senate approved a $3.7 Trillion 2014 budget Saturday by a 50-49 margin. It was the first budget to pass in the Senate in 4 years.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (D-New Orleans) voted For the budget while Senator David Vitter (R-Metairie) voted No.
Unlike the Republican House Bill passed on Thursday, the Senate plan calls for tax increases and some minor spending cuts but won’t balance the Federal Budget.

In a statement, Landrieu applauded the Senate plan and criticized the Republican House plan proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).
"I voted for the Senate budget because it takes a balanced approach to reduce our deficit by targeting smart spending cuts and finding additional revenues from closing loopholes in our tax code. Respected economists, including the leaders of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission and Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say that while reducing our annual deficit to a much lower percentage of GDP is a very important target, they caution against drastic reductions that would throw ice water on this growing recovery."

"The Senate Budget hits those targets while keeping economic growth and the security of the middle class at the forefront. The Ryan (House Republican) Budget, in contrast, shifts the entire burden of deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and working poor. It pulls the rug out from this promising recovery while lavishing tax cuts to the top 1 percent. Yes, it purports to 'balance' the budget in 10 years, but at what cost to the middle class? It is an unconscionable and shameful reflection of the values America stands for."
The Senate plan also includes an amendment from Senator Landrieu that calls for the Federal government to speed up the increase of Louisiana’s share of off-shore oil and gas royalty payments. Louisiana is set to receive an increase to 37.5% in 2017. Landrieu wants that to begin immediately.  It would also eliminate the current $500 Million annual cap on royalties.

Senator Vitter offered two amendments to the budget requiring a valid photo id to vote in Federal elections and ending the government’s practice of giving away free cell phones. Both were rejected.
Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) was critical of the Senate budget plan and President Obama's continued failure to submit a budget of his own.

In a statement, Scalise claimed that the House Republican budget “is a responsible budget that balances in 10 years, saves Medicare from bankruptcy, repeals ObamaCare, and gets our economy moving again so we can create jobs through pro-growth reforms that establish a fairer and simpler tax code. Our growth-oriented budget contrasts dramatically with the liberal Senate budget that raises more than $1 trillion in new taxes and never achieves balance, as well as President Obama's failure to even meet the legal deadline to present a budget."