What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res.), Kilpatrick of Michigan substitute amendment offering an alternative budget resolution authored by the Congressional Black Caucus/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 209)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res.), Kilpatrick of Michigan substitute amendment offering an alternative budget resolution authored by the Congressional Black Caucus/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 209     Mar 29, 2007
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Progressive Position
Progressive Result
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This vote was on an alternative budget resolution proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), of which Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) is a member, to the fiscal 2008 budget resolution. The budget resolution sets spending and revenue targets for the next five years. The amendment was cosponsored by Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.).

The CBC's alternative budget resolution, offered in the form of a substitute amendment, would repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and dramatically increase domestic spending, in contrast to the resolution outlined by the Democratic majority which would keep discretionary spending closer to inflation, with the exception of education funding and veterans' care.

By law, Congress is supposed to pass a budget resolution every year by April 15. The Republican-led Congress failed to do so for the fiscal 2007 year, leading to what many in both parties acknowledged was a breakdown in the appropriations process. Even though the budget resolution does not have the force of law, it establishes broad financial guidelines for the upcoming debates on spending and thus serves as an agreed-upon framework for how Congress considers tax and spending decisions. The new Democratic majority in Congress sought to pass a fiscal 2008 budget resolution as a way to contrast its leadership style with its Republican predecessors. But the CBC didn't feel that the Democrat leadership drafted budget resolution went far enough in supporting social programs.

The CBC alternative projected a budget surplus of $141 billion by fiscal 2012 by assuming the repeal of certain tax cuts resulting in $319 billion in additional revenue over five years, which the resolution would direct toward deficit reduction as well as education, jobs and health programs. It would include tax increases for married couples with incomes above $200,000, for single filers above $170,000.

"This budget changes our fiscal course from a sea of debt, deficit and despair to financial stability and responsibility," Kilpatrick said in a floor speech. "The Kilpatrick/Scott amendment confronts the crises faced by our senior citizens who will not have enough money to heat their homes in the winter or cool them in the summer; it will confront the crises faced by our veterans and those wounded warriors who do not have adequate health care, mental health treatment, or physical therapy; the Kilpatrick /Scott amendment to the budget continues the legacy of this Nation's historic mission of caring for the least of our sisters and brothers."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) responded that the CBC's budget plan had the same flaws as the one introduced by the Democratic leadership. "They raise a lot of taxes, anywhere from $400 billion to $1 trillion just over the next 5 years," Ryan said. "We believe that we need to focus on spending and not on raising taxes."

The CBC was able to collect 115 votes from House Democrats, a bare majority of the Democrats in the House; 113 Democrats and all 199 Republicans present voted against the amendment. The 115 Democrats who voted for the CBC's budget resolution included many of the most progressive Democrats in the House.

Although the resolution failed by 115-312, the CBC achieved a symbolic victory by getting a majority of House Democrats to agree with the caucuses' budget priorities. Nonetheless, the fiscal 2008 budget resolution went forward without an amendment that would have increased domestic spending beyond what the resolution drafted by the Democratic majority sought.

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