Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today voted to begin consideration of two budget proposals as a starting point to rein in government spending, lower the debt and reform entitlements. Neither of the proposals received the required simple majority to advance. Three other budget resolutions were also rejected, including President Obama's budget, which did not receive a single vote of support.
"For more than three years the Senate has lacked the will, the leadership and the courage to fulfill what I consider its most basic legislative function: writing and adopting a budget resolution," Johanns said. "Our annual spending has been on autopilot while our per-capita national debt has outpaced the likes of Greece and Spain. I voted to advance two fiscally responsible budget proposals -- just as I did last year -- because Americans cannot afford for Congress to continue hitting snooze on the tough choices we face."
Johanns voted to proceed to debate on budgets introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The Ryan budget, which passed the House of Representatives, spends $5.3 trillion less than President Obama's budget over ten years. The proposal also included a bipartisan agreement between Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) allowing seniors more flexibility to choose their preferred Medicare plan. Current Medicare beneficiaries and those eligible within 10 years will continue receiving traditional Medicare benefits. Those under 55 would have the option to either stay with traditional Medicare plans or receive assistance in purchasing a qualified private plan. The Ryan budget would simplify the tax code, eliminate loopholes and set a maximum rate of 25 percent.
The Toomey budget proposal balances the budget within eight years by bringing spending to 18.3 percent of the nation's economy, more in line with historical averages. The plan also lowers all marginal tax rates by 20 percent and reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent. The Toomey budget would also use the Ryan budget's bipartisan Medicare agreement to strengthen the entitlement program.
The President's budget did not receive a single vote for the second year in a row. The plan would have done little to change the nation's unsustainable fiscal path. Over the next 10 years, the President's budget would add $6.4 trillion to our debt and increase the nation's publicly held debt to more than 76 percent of our entire economy by 2022. Prior to 2009, deficits never exceeded $459 billion. At no point in the President's budget would deficits be at or below that level.