Senate passes budget along partisan lines, threatens to repeal Obamacare legislation

Early on the morning March 27, the U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution authored by members of the Republican Party. The Senate’s resolution follows the passage of a separate budget in the House of Representatives, meaning that the two budgets will eventually need to be reconciled.

The passage of the vote required a series of rapid votes that lasted late into the night; in fact, the final vote did not pass until 3:30 a.m. after 16 hours of voting. Approximately every 20 minutes a new amendment came up for a vote, requiring senators to quickly confer with staffers and lobbyists.

The vote on the budget, which passed by a margin of 52-46, was largely a partisan affair, as all Democrats voted against the passage of the budget according to the article “Senate passes budget plan after long vote-a-rama” published on CNN.com. By contrast, all Republicans voted for the budget, with two exceptions: Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

As it currently exists, this bill balances the federal budget within 10 years, slashes trillions in spending in places like Medicare and Medicaid, includes loopholes to bypass limits on defense spending imposed several years ago, and eliminates the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly called Obamacare.

According to the CNN.com article, Republicans intend to use a tactic known as reconciliation to repeal Obamacare, which would enable them to do so without the possibility of a Democratic filibuster in response. However, since the Republicans do not control two-thirds of Congress, this effort would fail in the event that President Obama vetoes the measure — and he has promised to do so.

Democratic budget proposals centered around amendments on equal pay, climate change, infrastructure improvements, and raising the minimum wage, which the cnn.com article characterized as partisan jabs at Republicans, while Republicans used Enivronmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, defense spending, and tax cuts as jabs of their own.

For more information, read the article at http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/27/politics/senate-gop-budget-vote-a-rama/index.html.

Junior Steven Viera is the Managing Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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