propublica / Flickr chuck schumer...
propublica / Flickr

Late Thursday night, Senate Republicans passed their non-binding budget resolution, a budget that recommends cutting Medicare by $473 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion in order to give $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy. Oh, and it adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit. That’s so Republicans can come back in several years and yell about the deficit and push for more cuts to social insurance programs. The bill passed 51-49, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) the only Republican voting against.

“This nasty and backwards budget greenlights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. […]

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican senator who opposed the measure.

“I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the law of the land for years and simply pretend it didn’t matter,” Paul said in a statement.

As a budget, it’s non-binding. What matters, what this whole process was about, was those tax cuts. Even Trump understands that part. The bill includes the “instructions” the Congress needs to pass the tax cuts under budget reconciliation, a process that cuts Democrats out entirely because it only needs 51 votes to pass. A technical correction added as an amendment makes changes that the House Republicans wanted, which will fast track it even more—the House will likely take up the Senate bill and pass it completely, bypassing a conference between the two chambers.

The process was bitterly criticized by Budget Committee member Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who is retiring this year, who called the whole process “a hoax.”

“The only thing about this that matters is preparation for the tax reform,” said Corker, who is retiring at the end of the Congress. “Other than that, these amendment votes, everything about this is a hoax. A hoax. It has no impact on anything whatsoever.
“If I were chairman of the budget committee, I would dismantle it. I would move to end it immediately in its current form,” Corker said.

“Unless we create a real budget process, which this is not, our country’s fiscal situation will continue to go down the tube, and we have no mechanism to control real spending, 70 percent of which is mandatory, that’s not even covered by this,” he continued.

He voted for it. Because tax cuts. So much for principled opposition from any Republican.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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