Senate Passes GOP Budget Proposal

| by Ethan Brown
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On May 5, the U.S. Senate, led by a Republican majority, passed a new budget that increases defense spending and cuts funding to some social entitlement programs.

The vote was nearly along party lines, with all 46 Democrats and two Republicans voting against the measure. Interestingly, the two Republicans voting against the budget are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both who are currently candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky praised the legislation and the effectiveness of the Republican-led Congress on passing a balanced budget.

“No budget will ever be perfect, but this is a budget that sensibly addresses the concerns of many different members," McConnell said. "It reflects honest compromise from many different members with many different priorities."

The budget will increase restrictions on those who may or may not be eligible for food stamp benefits and also cuts billions from Medicare, $430 billion to be exact, CNN reported.

The Pentagon’s war fund will receive an increase of $38 billion, allowed due to the fact that the war fund is not technically part of the national budget and is not subjected to spending caps.

However, the budget will not raise or create any new taxes. aims at a fully balanced national budget in a decade.

Senate Democrats voiced their opposition to the measure later on.

“This is an absolute disaster for the working families of this country,” Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said. Like Paul and Cruz, self-proclaimed "Democratic-Socialist" Sen. Sanders is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for president. He is currently the only challenger to Hillary Clinton.

The legislation also includes a "reconciliation" amendment, which allows the Senate to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act with just a majority vote and prevents Democrats from filibustering it. Though Obama would almost certainly veto any such legislation that came to his desk, the amendment serves a symbolic move to show the GOP's power, USA Today reports.

The proposal is non-binding and serves as an outline for spending in the coming year. The specific spending bills will be formulated by lawmakers in the coming weeks, CNN reports.

Sources: CNN, USA Today 

Photo Credit: The Washington Times, wsj.com