For the first time in four years, the Senate majority brought a budget resolution to the Senate floor and passed it. But that's where the good news ends, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who said that a budget that raises $1 trillion in taxes and never balances, is a wish list for more spending and not a serious plan to address our country's debt crisis.
"The majority budget doesn't even accomplish President Obama's stated goal to balance the budget through a combination of tax increases and budget cuts. This budget only includes tax increases and additional spending. At the end of 10 years we are worse off fiscally than we are today," said Enzi. "Asking for a budget to balance within a decade isn't unreasonable, it's called being fiscally responsible. The more we spend, the greater the tab we leave for our children and grandchildren to pick up. The more Congress taxes, the more Congress punishes the American people for Washington's inability to responsibly spend the tax dollars they give to the federal government."
Enzi said the budget resolution is a tool to either rein in spending or call for additional spending. In this case, the majority's resolution calls for additional spending and taxes. The document is supposed to outline clear funding objectives and set the framework for the authorization and appropriations steps in the annual budget process.
While no amendments successfully added to the budget resolution carry the force of law, they express the support for specific legislative initiatives or principles. More than 500 amendments were filed and dozens were offered.
Enzi supported amendments designed to require the budget to balance within 10 years, require 67 votes in the Senate to pass gun control legislation, allow the full repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act, restrict EPA rule-making and many others.
Enzi authored four amendments. Two received votes and passed.
Amendment 489 would allow for phasing in any changes to corporate and individual income tax systems, to give taxpayers the ability to adjust their actions and plan accordingly. The Senate passed the amendment by voice vote.
Amendment 490 would require each federal agency to identify and prioritize each of its programs, projects and activities. This would allow the agencies to determine what they are doing well and what they don't need, and could eradicate duplicate spending.
Amendment 491 would restore money to the appropriate trust funds and protect it from being used for unrelated programs. Enzi said this is particularly important for our state, because the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund was raided in 2012 to pay for transportation programs, which resulted in Wyoming losing more than $700 million over the next 10 years.
Amendment 656 would allow states to enforce state and local use tax laws and collect taxes already owed under state law on remote sales. The Senate passed the amendment 75-24.
The Senate passed the majority's budget 50-49. Enzi voted against it.
"This process could have been bipartisan, but at least the American people can now more clearly see where people stand on the annual budget and other important issues," Enzi said.