What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution) Vote on final passage of the budget resolution conference report/On the conference report
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution) Vote on final passage of the budget resolution conference report/On the conference report
senate Roll Call 172     May 17, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote occurred on adopting the conference report for the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules. This measure sets out some $2.9 trillion in congressional funding priorities in fiscal 2008, including money for federal domestic programs and the war effort.

When the two chambers differ on a measure, members of the House and Senate meet to work out those differences in what is known as a conference committee.. The conference committee produces a conference report, which contains the agreement reached on the final bill.

The conference report also would reinstate rules known as PAYGO, which requires any bill that creates new spending or reduces revenues be offset by a reduction in spending, or creation of new revenue.

The resolution makes room for up to $50 billion in new spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which helps low income families with children afford health insurance, and about $20 billion for agricultural programs. The measure would require that the committees in charge of these programs draft legislation by Sept. 10 that would find ways to save money in other areas to make up for the spending increases for SCHIP and agriculture programs, so the budget stays balanced.

"To recap, the budget resolution we bring to the floor, the conference report, puts the Nation back on a sound fiscal path. It balances by 2012 with a $41 billion surplus in 2012," said Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "This budget also meets the Nation's priorities. It fully funds the President's defense and war cost requests. It rejects the President's cuts in certain key priority areas. It provides increases for children's health, for education, and for our veterans health care, an area in which the American people overwhelmingly want us to invest. In addition, this budget resolution keeps taxes low."

It also contains a total of $21 billion more than what the White House wanted for spending not related to the war effort in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution projects that the budget will be balanced while at the same time increasing domestic spending. To achieve this, the measure assumes that most of Bush's signature tax cuts will be allowed to expire as scheduled at the end of 2010, meaning more tax revenues will be coming into the federal treasury. This has caused Republicans to blast the measure as a tax increase of billions of dollars. Also, President Bush has threatened to veto any domestic spending bills that exceed his budget.

"The fact is that this budget, as proposed, is not a good one. It has in it the largest tax increase in history. It is a tax increase that is especially unfortunate because it is going to take place in the context of a tax law that we finally got right around here, as shown by the revenues flowing into the Federal Government, and the fact that present tax law is generating more revenues than, historically, the Federal Government has received and is doing it in a more progressive way than has historically been done. High-income people are paying more than they have historically paid, and low-income people are getting more back in the way of tax benefits than they have historically gotten," said Judd Gregg, R-N.H.

The Senate adopted the conference report by a vote of 52-40. Democrats were unanimous in supporting the measure, while most Republicans voted against it, with two exceptions (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine). Thus, the budget resolution was adopted and sent to President Bush for his signature.

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