Senate likely to push through Ryan-Murray budget deal

There were some news reports over the weekend featuring which suggested that there were not the votes in the Senate to pass the budget deal reached between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). But The New York Times reported yesterday that enough Republicans will vote to advance deal past a procedural hurdle, setting the stage for final passage (emphasis added):

Support for a compromise two-year budget deal grew on Monday ahead of a Tuesday vote in the Senate as Republicans concluded that a measure that achieved overwhelming bipartisan support in the House could not die in Congress’s upper chamber.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, announced his support for the measure on Monday, appearing to give it the 60 votes it would need to overcome a filibuster threat and bring it to a final vote, which would need only a majority. Mr. Hatch joined Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, all Republicans who have said they will vote to cut off debate.
[W]ith a public showdown looming, undecided Republicans decided on Monday to come off the fence. Even some Republicans who had privately signaled opposition last week were coming around, convinced that a deal that passed the House 332-94, with a strong majority of Republicans behind it, could not be derailed in the Senate.

A number of Republican senators had complained about the budget deal and planned to oppose it because it rolls back some sequester cuts and mostly relies on fee increases, larger contributions from federal employees to pension plans, and lower Medicare payouts to doctors to achieve the $23 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

That purported deficit reduction is a rounding error when compared to the $9.492 trillion in budget deficits Congress is expected to rack up over the next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and the $19.944 trillion national debt projects by 2023.

What’s more, the touted deficit reduction isn’t etched in stone. If that were the case, the very modest spending cuts enacted through the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) wouldn’t even be on the table. In other words, don’t count on Congress keeping its word. A lot could change in 10 years, just as a lot has changed in just two years since the passage of the BCA.

House Republicans blew their messaging on spending earlier in the year by preaching the same doom and gloom that President Obama was spreading. They wanted to restore some of the defense spending cuts mandated by the BCA, which is what the Ryan-Murray deal partially does.

Despite the initial skepticism toward the deal, it looks as though at least some Senate Republicans are ready to lying down on fiscal restraint started last week by their House counterparts. The Republican surrender is, unfortunately, almost complete.

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