Senate to vote next week on Obama budget

Senate to vote next week on Obama budget
AFP
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First Published: Thu, Mar 26 2009. 12 00 AM IST
Updated: Thu, Mar 26 2009. 12 00 AM IST
Washington: US President Barack Obama’s top Senate ally has said that lawmakers will aim to vote next week on a slimmed down version of the White House’s $3.6 trillion budget.
Minutes after Obama wrapped up a visit to his fellow Democrats in the Senate, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid said that he was confident ‘the full senate will pass this budget next week.’
Reid further said that the closed-door meeting was vintage Obama. “Obama made us all feel content and inspired by where we need to go.” Reid said with Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, chief of the budget committee, at his side.
The budget is chiefly a symbolic spending blueprint, a statement of priorities for spending and taxes that serves as a non-binding guideline for appropriations committees that decide the government’s actual outlays.
Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, some alarmed by a deficit certain estimates say will surge to more than $1.8 trillion have released their own versions of the budget.
The House resolution trims the deficit to $1.2 trillion in 2010, compared to the president’s figure of $1.4 trillion.
The Senate version of the spending bill also adjusts Obama’s plans for a middle class tax cut to account for a worsening fiscal outlook, but preserves his key priorities.
“This budget will protect President Obama’s priorities — education, energy, health care, middle-class tax relief — and cut the deficit in half,” Reid predicted.
With few Republicans expected to back the blueprint, the political fight has shifted to a group of swing-vote Democrats expected to prove crucial to passing the measure.
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First Published: Thu, Mar 26 2009. 12 00 AM IST