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Senate Stalemated on Budget

Action needed for a fair budget

As expected the Senate rejected both budget proposals with neither able to secure even a simple majority. Now more than ever our members of Congress as well as President Obama that this is not the time to be making dramatic cuts in federal spending that directly impacts the lives of the most vulnerable.

Amidst this partisan debacle, the choice for those of us who are committed to a fair budget that does not negatively impact the lives of the most vulnerable is to speak up loudly and clearly.

As we have said previously stated, with depressed wages, stagnant unemployment, unrelenting housing cost burden, and the lagging pace of the economic recovery, balancing the budget at this time could bring about increases in homelessness and a heightened risk of homelessness for more and more Americans. 

Senators Lautenberg and Menendez voted for the Senate version and against the House budget.

Ten moderate Democrats voted against the proposal developed by their own party, which only garnered 42 votes in favor and 58 against. Click here to view how the votes were cast.

The House proposal that would cut $61 billion dollars in domestic spending, received 44 votes in favor and 57 opposed. Three Republicans voted against the budget because it did not cut deep enough. Click here to view how the votes were cast.

The conventional wisdom is that these votes will force negotiations between the House and Senate to adopt a budget.

According to Politico there are three issues that could make it difficult to resolve this issue.

For Republicans the challenge is:

This is most pointed for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), fighting to hold onto his old traditional northeastern GOP moderates while new tea party conservatives defect on the right.

For Democrats the challenge is:

Liberals like Vermont Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) broke ranks to protest the single-minded focus on discretionary spending reduction to address deficit. At the same time, the real battleground lies with the moderates upset that the Democratic package only promised $1 of savings for every $7 in the House Republican bill.

For both parties the challenge is:

Obama’s continued absence in the fight is a frustration for both sides. Even Wednesday the White House statement of opposition to the House bill failed to say explicitly that the president would veto the measure by name. And Cabinet departments have been discouraged by the White House from discussing the impact of the cuts.

The House has already started to prepare a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown on March 18th. It is expected that this will include another $4 billion in cuts.

by Richard W. Brown

Richard W. Brown, has more than forty-two years experience in both housing development and community organizing. Since 1991 Mr. Brown has been the Chief Executive Officer of Monarch Housing Associates, the 1995 Governor’s Excellence in Housing Award winner in the organization category.. To read more about Richard and all of our staff click here. Click here to send Mr. Brown an email.

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