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News & Politics News & Politics

We may have a budget!

Posted by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 4:29 PM
  • 12 Replies
Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to spectators while walking in the Vergennes Memorial Day Parade in May. / FREE PRESS FILE

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington after meeting with President Barack Obama, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. / AP

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders is more optimistic than most people that the lawmakers named to a committee responsible for crafting a fiscal 2014 budget agreement stand some chance of success.

The Vermont independent, one of the negotiators on that conference committee, believes Americans’ low opinion of Congress — particularly of Republicans — will motivate the panel to address unemployment and mounting deficits in a way that’s fair to working families.

“There is that pressure on everybody’s shoulders, regardless of your politics, and I hope that moves us in a fruitful direction,” he said during an interview.

The 29-member conference committee was created as part of legislation ending the recent 16-day partial government shutdown and extending the debt limit until Feb. 7.

The panel consists of all 22 members of the Senate Budget Committee, including Sanders, along with seven House members. The group has until Dec. 13 to come up with an agreement on a budget for fiscal 2014, which began Oct. 1.

Meetings are to begin Wednesday.

Budget experts say bridging the gap between Republican and Democratic fiscal philosophies presents the conference committee with an enormous challenge.

Members of both parties agree that sequestration spending cuts — mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to reduce spending by more than $1 trillion over 10 years — are bad for the country. But they agree on little else. Democrats want increases in tax revenue that Republicans oppose. Republicans want major changes to entitlement programs, which Democrats oppose.

“They have different fiscal visions, and overcoming these deep divisions over the next month-and-a-half seems unlikely,” said Joel Friedman, former deputy Democratic staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, who is now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Sanders knows it won’t be easy. But he expects Republicans to be more willing to make concessions now that polls show Americans hold them largely responsible for the government shutdown. He said most polls show Americans don’t want entitlement cuts.

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 4:29 PM
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PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM
(Page 2 of 3)


“They’re surely not dumb,” Sanders said of Republicans. “I think they’re going to look out at the landscape, and I do not believe they’re going to go forward very vocally to talk about more tax breaks for billionaires and cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, because that is not a way you continue to control the House.”

The parties’ stark philosophical differences are highlighted in sharply contrasting House and Senate budget resolutions that the conference committee will try to merge.

The $966 billion House plan would balance the budget in 10 years through deep cuts in programs affecting low-income households while reducing tax rates for individuals and corporations. It would repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act and make dramatic changes to Medicare, offering vouchers to help new beneficiaries pay premiums for low-cost insurance, starting in 2024.

“Revenue is not the problem here,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., a conferee who says she would oppose a tax increase. “It’s our out-of-control spending that we just can’t seem to get under control that is the problem.”

The $1.058 trillion Senate budget plan, which Sanders supported, offers a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. It aims to put the debt on a downward trajectory and replace the automatic sequestration spending cuts that took effect this year.

Sanders said he’s willing to cut spending, but he’d begin with the Pentagon, where Republicans want to increase funding. He said he’d also look to cut waste and duplication at other agencies.

A successful outcome for Sanders would be a budget that preserves entitlement programs and invests in job creation, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, education and programs such as Head Start and the Meals on Wheels program for seniors. He also wants to “end the absurdity of one out of four major corporations not paying a nickel in federal taxes,” he said.

The conference committee has authority to lay the foundation for a long-term solution that some have called a “grand bargain.” That could include a package of large debt-reduction proposals such as entitlement reforms, spending cuts and tax increases.

PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM
(Page 3 of 3)


But that won’t happen, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said last week.

“If we focus on some big, grand bargain then we’re going to focus on our differences, and both sides are going to require that the other side compromises some core principle and then we’ll get nothing done,” Ryan said.

Some experts and lawmakers, including Reid, expect the committee to focus more narrowly on the short-term impacts of sequestration spending cuts. The next $19 billion in cuts kicks in Jan. 15, affecting defense programs the most.

But even that goal will be difficult. Republicans want to maintain the sequestration spending cuts but give agencies, especially the Pentagon, greater latitude to spend more on priority programs. Democrats argue that leaving sequestration in place would hamper the country’s sluggish economic recovery.

Social Security and Medicaid are exempt from sequestration, as are Medicare benefits, but Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals are cut.

Sanders said an end to sequestration — “which everyone agrees is totally stupid” — would be progress. But he also wants to boost funding for Head Start and Meals on Wheels.

“It’s not everything that we should be doing, but it would be a step forward,” he said.

Agreements like the one the conference committee is working to achieve typically are crafted by the chairpersons, but there’s plenty of opportunity for Sanders to pitch his priorities, said former Sen. Kent Conrad, former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., will have to ask her team for their ideas, and ultimately, for their votes, Conrad said.

“Sen. Sanders is in many ways the conscience of the Senate when it comes to those who have been left out and left behind,” Conrad said. “He cares deeply about those who benefit from Medicare and Social Security and will do his utmost to protect them. He will be a very strong voice in any venue.”

Indeed, Sanders has long been vocal about such issues. He recently took his message on a Red State road tour, traveling to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina last week. The self-described Democratic socialist visited trade union members, independents and progressives to talk about preserving entitlement programs and other economic issues. He’s hoping to persuade white working-class people to stop voting against their economic interests, according to several media outlets.

Sanders sees himself as a voice for working people. He said his role on the conference committee will be to counter proposals to cut entitlement programs and expand tax breaks for billionaires by bringing the discussion “into the open in plain English.”

He also wants to use the committee as a forum to raise the issue of income and wealth inequality and the need for profitable corporations to help deal with the deficit and invest in America.

“You don’t balance the budget on the backs of people who are already devastated, who often have nothing, and then give tax breaks to billionaires who are doing phenomenally well,” he said. “That’s the point I want to press.”

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Other than the biased article, I'm glad we may have a budget and that Democrats may finally give concessions. When Republicans come up with the budget in the first place, ie, the opening proposal, it is up to Democrats to give a counterproposal, ie, offer the first concessions.

That's the way it works with negotiation.

As I said, it's good to hear there may be a budget. Just be fair about each party's responsibility. Each House of Congress is legitimately elected and equal in the eyes of the Constitution.

Analeigh2012
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:37 PM
I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.
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PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM

You know you may have had a conversation on your hands if not for this part.  I am a Vermont resident and I don't hate the rest of New England or this country.  Very few people I know here do.  Do we want to be our own country.  At times yes.  Mainly because the rest of the country has some serious issues.  

And I did say, "may" in my title.  If Sanders ideas are approved or some compromise is made then we may just have a budget.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.


PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 6:17 PM
1 mom liked this

It is from our local newspaper, The Burlington Free Press.  Yes they are bias, love Bernie and reflect the liberal leanings of the area the paper is named after.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Other than the biased article, I'm glad we may have a budget and that Democrats may finally give concessions. When Republicans come up with the budget in the first place, ie, the opening proposal, it is up to Democrats to give a counterproposal, ie, offer the first concessions.

That's the way it works with negotiation.

As I said, it's good to hear there may be a budget. Just be fair about each party's responsibility. Each House of Congress is legitimately elected and equal in the eyes of the Constitution.


Analeigh2012
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

You are a VT resident, but not a Vermonter.  You said you moved there which means you bring your ideals from your experiences from living outside if VT and outside of New England.  From my experience over the years, there isn't a VT independent that truly cares about the rest of New England.  They care about VT and VT residents.  Nothing is ever 100% fit for all people and I don't say it is.  But someone born and raised in VT as an independent is different than someone from other states moving in and being an independent.  It is good to hear that you and your acquaintances feel differently!  How many of those folks were born and raised there?  

Quoting PrimmednPunked:

You know you may have had a conversation on your hands if not for this part.  I am a Vermont resident and I don't hate the rest of New England or this country.  Very few people I know here do.  Do we want to be our own country.  At times yes.  Mainly because the rest of the country has some serious issues.  

And I did say, "may" in my title.  If Sanders ideas are approved or some compromise is made then we may just have a budget.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.



PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 6:46 PM

All of them except one lol.  They are people I have befriended through DH who was born and raised here.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

You are a VT resident, but not a Vermonter.  You said you moved there which means you bring your ideals from your experiences from living outside if VT and outside of New England.  From my experience over the years, there isn't a VT independent that truly cares about the rest of New England.  They care about VT and VT residents.  Nothing is ever 100% fit for all people and I don't say it is.  But someone born and raised in VT as an independent is different than someone from other states moving in and being an independent.  It is good to hear that you and your acquaintances feel differently!  How many of those folks were born and raised there?  

Quoting PrimmednPunked:

You know you may have had a conversation on your hands if not for this part.  I am a Vermont resident and I don't hate the rest of New England or this country.  Very few people I know here do.  Do we want to be our own country.  At times yes.  Mainly because the rest of the country has some serious issues.  

And I did say, "may" in my title.  If Sanders ideas are approved or some compromise is made then we may just have a budget.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.




Analeigh2012
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM
There are exceptions to every rule!

But back to the post .... This is just a hope of Sanders'?


Quoting PrimmednPunked:

All of them except one lol.  They are people I have befriended through DH who was born and raised here.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

You are a VT resident, but not a Vermonter.  You said you moved there which means you bring your ideals from your experiences from living outside if VT and outside of New England.  From my experience over the years, there isn't a VT independent that truly cares about the rest of New England.  They care about VT and VT residents.  Nothing is ever 100% fit for all people and I don't say it is.  But someone born and raised in VT as an independent is different than someone from other states moving in and being an independent.  It is good to hear that you and your acquaintances feel differently!  How many of those folks were born and raised there?  

Quoting PrimmednPunked:

You know you may have had a conversation on your hands if not for this part.  I am a Vermont resident and I don't hate the rest of New England or this country.  Very few people I know here do.  Do we want to be our own country.  At times yes.  Mainly because the rest of the country has some serious issues.  

And I did say, "may" in my title.  If Sanders ideas are approved or some compromise is made then we may just have a budget.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.




Posted on CafeMom Mobile
PrimmednPunked
by Silver Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

If I remember correctly he is heading the committee.  He has talked a lot about the concessions that Dems need to make to ensure a budget is passed that Republicans will hopefully approve of.  We can only hope.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

There are exceptions to every rule!

But back to the post .... This is just a hope of Sanders'?


Quoting PrimmednPunked:

All of them except one lol.  They are people I have befriended through DH who was born and raised here.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

You are a VT resident, but not a Vermonter.  You said you moved there which means you bring your ideals from your experiences from living outside if VT and outside of New England.  From my experience over the years, there isn't a VT independent that truly cares about the rest of New England.  They care about VT and VT residents.  Nothing is ever 100% fit for all people and I don't say it is.  But someone born and raised in VT as an independent is different than someone from other states moving in and being an independent.  It is good to hear that you and your acquaintances feel differently!  How many of those folks were born and raised there?  

Quoting PrimmednPunked:

You know you may have had a conversation on your hands if not for this part.  I am a Vermont resident and I don't hate the rest of New England or this country.  Very few people I know here do.  Do we want to be our own country.  At times yes.  Mainly because the rest of the country has some serious issues.  

And I did say, "may" in my title.  If Sanders ideas are approved or some compromise is made then we may just have a budget.

Quoting Analeigh2012:

I don't get it - other than the title, where is there a point in this article that says we may have a budget? The committee hasn't even met yet. If just in Sanders' head, at least there is something in there! I would be very leery of any of the Independents from Vermont. They hate the rest of New England, and definitely the rest if the country. They want to be their own country, have their own currency and own time zone. I can't take him seriously or any of his thoughts. I'll hold my excitement until the committee has met a few times.





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