What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Government Funding for a Broad Range of Human Needs : Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 99), Ryan of Wisconsin substitute amendment offering the Republicans' alternative to the Democratic-drafted version/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 211)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Fiscal 2008 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 99), Ryan of Wisconsin substitute amendment offering the Republicans' alternative to the Democratic-drafted version/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 211     Mar 29, 2007
Member's Vote
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or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on a Republican alternative to the fiscal 2008 budget resolution drafted by the Democratic majority. It was offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The budget resolution sets spending and revenue targets for the next five years.

The Republicans' plan sought to pay for tax cut extensions by cutting Medicare and other entitlement programs by $279 billion over five years and freezing domestic discretionary spending. (There are two types of government spending: what's known as mandatory, which is determined by existing laws, such as Social Security and Medicare payments, and discretionary spending, which includes items such as highway projects and funding the military, which can fluctuate each year without other statutory changes.)

The Republican budget proposal also accounted for about $400 billion less revenue than the Democrats' plan because it assumed that the 2001 and 2003 income, estate and dividend tax cuts would be extended instead of ending, as planned for in current law. The Republican budget also accounted for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) after 2007, even though most Republicans want to see that tax curtailed.

By law, Congress is supposed to pass a budget resolution every year by April 15. 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 budget resolution written by the Democratic majority included a $1.1 trillion cap on discretionary spending, about $25 billion more than President Bush sought and $7 billion more than the budget resolution adopted by the Senate. Democrats saw their 2008 budget resolution as the beginning of a period of responsible fiscal stewardship after six years under a Republican Congress with a Republican president. Democrats pointed out that in the past six years the country has gone from having a projected $5.6 trillion surplus to looking at a $9 trillion dollar deficit, and growing.

"It goes far beyond having been drunk at the wheel," Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) said. "Our predecessors in the majority not only crashed the car into a ditch, they accelerated after landing there, allowing mud to cave in on top of it."

Republicans said the Democrats' budget increased taxes and didn't deal with the upcoming retirement of 77 million baby boomers, which will put an enormous strain on an already stretched entitlement system, just a few of the reasons they offered an alternative.

"We don't believe we should tax, tax, tax and then tax more the American economy and the American family and the American workers," Ryan said. "We believe Washington has a spending problem, and that is why we are proposing to control spending, and that is how we achieve the balanced budget."

Ryan said that despite Democrat objections, the Republican budget did not seek to cut as much as it sought to reform. "Are we cutting Medicare? No, we are not cutting Medicare. We are growing Medicare. We are growing Medicare, not as fast as it is currently scheduled to grow because we are reforming Medicare. And what do we do? We extend the solvency of Medicare," Ryan continued.

The Republican substitute failed on a vote of 160-268. One Democrat joined 159 Republicans in voting for it, and 40 Republicans joined the Democratic majority in voting against it. Thus, the fiscal 2008 budget resolution went forward without a Republican-backed proposal to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and balance the budget by freezing discretionary spending and cutting the growth of Medicare and other entitlement programs by $279 billion over five years.

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