WASHINGTON – The House finished its legislative work before a holiday break with a spate of votes on competing budget proposals, none of which were ever likely to become law.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different budgets and how the delegation members voted on them:
The Republican budget (“the Ryan budget”) – This is the one that’s gotten the most media attention, authored by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee. His budget proposes major changes to Medicare, cutting taxes and maintaining defense spending but would require decades before bringing the federal budget back into balance. Domestic programs would see major spending cuts under this budget.
All four of Minnesota’s House Republicans voted for this budget, all four DFLers voted against it. It passed the House 228-191.
The Democrats’ budget – This proposal was put forward by Democratic leaders. It failed 163-262 with DFL U.S. Reps. Ellison, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz in favor while DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a fiscally conservative Blue Dog, voted against it. All four Republicans opposed it, too.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget – This budget was co-authored by Ellison and other members of the Progressive Caucus and represents a wishlist from the most liberal flank of House Democrats. It calls for greater spending on education and social spending while proposing deep cuts to defense programs. It also increases taxes substantially on the wealthy.
Only Ellison and McCollum voted for this budget, all other members of the delegation were opposed. It failed 78-346.
The Republican Study Committee budget – An even more conservative alternative to the Ryan budget, proposing deeper, immediate spending cuts with the goal of bringing the budget in balance within five years.
Republican U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline voted for this budget while U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen and Chip Cravaack voted against it. No Democrats supported the budget, which failed 136-285.
The Congressional Black Caucus budget – Another budget proposal backed by liberals in the Democratic caucus with a similar focus on taxing the wealthy and increasing spending on education. Ellison and McCollum voted in favor, the remainder of the delegation opposed it. It failed 107-314.
The White House budget – Republicans introduced a version of the budget proposed by President Obama in order to embarrass Democrats into taking politically unpopular stances. This budget was defeated unanimously with 414 votes against.
The Bowles-Simpson budget – A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a budget modeled after the recommendations of President Obama’s Bowles-Simpson budget commission. This measure included spending cuts and tax hikes but but failed on a 38-382 vote. Only Peterson supported it.