Chuck Schumer: Okay, Senate Democrats will pass a budget this year

posted at 10:31 am on January 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

A moment worth commemorating: Like the inauguration, a promise from a top Senate Democrat to pass a budget happens only once every four years. There’s no way to justify another year of ducking the issue now that the GOP’s made it a condition of raising the debt ceiling short-term, so here’s Schumer’s familiar counter-move. They’ll pass a budget but they’ll insist on a “balanced approach” in doing so, even though the cause of the country’s fiscal crisis is decidedly imbalanced.

Likely sources of new revenue: Energy companies, of course, and the bottomless well of riches that you and I know as “the wealthy.”

The proposed tax increases to be included in the Senate budget would be on the wealthy, oil and gas companies and corporations doing business overseas, Schumer said.

The increases on the wealthy, which Schumer did not spell out, would be in addition to the rate increase on income over $450,000 a year that Congress voted on at the beginning of the month during the fiscal cliff fight.

Closing corporate-tax loopholes and eliminating certain deductions will surely also be on the table, although some of those loopholes aren’t so loophole-y and some of those deductions are extremely popular. But this’ll all be hashed out in the tax-reform process, which Congress will get to as soon as it’s done passing a few new token gun-control laws that won’t work and an immigration reform bill that will end up swelling the ranks of Democratic voters by millions. A look ahead:

Senate Democrats will draft a budget blueprint for the first time in four years, and use it to clear a path for a broad rewrite of the tax code that would raise significant revenue over the next decade — and be filibuster-proof at the same time — said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York…

Democrats plan to use a budget procedure called reconciliation to give Congressional tax-writing committees instructions to work out a broad overhaul and simplification of the tax code, with a 10-year revenue target included. Under reconciliation, the resulting tax legislation could pass the Senate with just 51 votes, not subject to a filibuster by Senate Republicans. Reconciliation is “a tactic we need to go on offense,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview after the show…

If both chambers pass their budgets, negotiations over the reconciliation would effectively become the next round of budget talks. If the two sides can agree to enough deficit reduction, the talks could shut off the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts.

That’s the point of kicking the debt-ceiling fight three months down the road — with that issue now looming in April/May instead of February, Republicans will in theory have more leverage when negotiating an omnibus package with The One that covers next year’s federal spending and the sequester. Per Politico, the GOP’s gambling that Obama will be so reluctant to face the political fallout from letting the defense cuts in the sequester take effect that he’ll agree to replace those cuts with some minor entitlement reform instead. Why they think that, given the relative popular support in a bluer America for slashing the Pentagon’s budget vis-a-vis slashing Medicare’s, I don’t know. Wasn’t the whole point of nominating Chuck Hagel to give O bipartisan cover in whittling down defense?

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