Last we checked in on the budget battle in DC, our post-partisan president was smirkingly denouncing House Republicans' fiscal blueprint as a "stink burger" and "meanwich." The wit! The erudition! With Congress' lower chamber poised to pass Paul Ryan's 'Path to Prosperity' -- which reduces the rate of federal spending increases, reforms Medicare and balances within ten years -- the House first took up President Obama's budget proposal. Might this qualify as a "stink burger?"
The House on Wednesday handily rejected a GOP budget alternative based on President Obama's 2015 spending blueprint. It was defeated 2-413, following a pattern seen in recent years in House votes to overwhelmingly reject Obama's budget proposals. Today's vote is just slightly better than the unanimous vote against Obama's budget in 2012. The two "yes" votes came from Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jim Moran (D-Va.), who is retiring...An Obama administration official agreed with House Democrats that the GOP substitute was not an accurate reflection of Obama's budget plan. "The Administration would welcome votes on the actual provisions of President's Budget," said Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner. "That is not what this amendment represents, and a vote for or against this amendment is not a vote for or against the President's policies." But Republicans rejected these complaints, and defended the idea of consider Obama's latest proposal as a way to let the House consider all budget options. "Any time the president of the United States takes the time to produce a budget, it merits a debate," Mulvaney said. "I think it's a valid discussion we should have every year." Mulvaney also offered the president's budget as a mock alternative in 2012, which was rejected 0-414. Republicans could not offer it last year because the president's budget was submitted late — instead, Mulvaney tried to offer a blank sheet of paper to represent Obama's budget, but it was not made in order.
I must have missed Mulvaney's blank page budget gambit last year, which deserves points for being amusing and for highlighting the fact that the Obama White House can't be bothered to meet statutory budget deadlines. He might try the same thing as a proxy for Senate Democrats' FY 2015 proposal, which does not and will not exist. Harry Reid's caucus has declined to participate in the legally-mandated budgeting process for the fourth time in five years. The White House and House Democrats can claim that the GOP's version of Obama's budget wasn't an "accurate reflection" of the original document, but it essentially lifted Obama's entire vision and dropped it into legislative language. In reality, all but two Democrats -- one of whom was this guy -- chose not to attach themselves to the president's plan, which calls for the following:
President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposal:
(1) Never balances. Ever.
(2) Increases spending, ballooning the national debt by $8.3 trillion over the budget window -- $1 trillion beyond than the unsustainable current trajectory. Under Obama's plan, the red ink on the above chart would be steeper, sooner.
(3) Raises taxes by an additional $1.8 trillion (and again, never balances).
To their credit, and unlike their Senate colleagues, House Democrats will offer an alternative budget of their own. But Phil Kerpen notices that it's missing something:
The section on Obamacare ends with this defiant statement of policy: “the law of the land should support making affordable health care coverage available to every American family, and therefore the Affordable Care Act should not be repealed.” And that’s it. Don’t repeal it. Don’t acknowledge any of the problems. Don’t do anything to help any of the people whose lives have been thrown into disarray. And certainly don’t do anything to “fix it.” It couldn’t be clearer: members who vote for this budget think Obamacare does not need to be fixed. Indeed it’s hard to read the Democratic budget as anything but a celebration of Obamacare exactly as it is – and that adds insult to the many Americans who have been injured by the law.
In other words, House Democrats' budget reflects the opinion of those six percent of Americans who believe Obamacare is working well as is. For all their public assurances about "fixing Obamacare" (which didn't pay dividends for them in Florida), Democrats oppose one of the most popular fixes to the law, their party chairwoman can't think of a single change she'd make, and their governing document offers zero fixes. Seems legit.