Friday, April 29, 2005

Pretty Good Budget Passes

The Washington Post reports on passage of the new budget. Link.
Congress passed a five-year, $14 trillion budget last night that will pave the way for oil drilling in parts of an Alaskan wildlife refuge, a new round of tax cuts and the first curbs on entitlements for the poor in nearly a decade.

The House approved the plan by a vote of 214 to 211, and the Senate voted 52 to 47. [...]

The budget resolution was seen as a must-win for President Bush, who has proposed a range of budgetary changes to trim the federal deficit and make room for his tax cuts. Some of those changes -- Medicaid restructuring, agriculture subsidy cuts and student loan savings -- were scaled back in the agreement. But many of the president's top priorities were secured. Budget director Joshua B. Bolten, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, and White House lobbyists worked furiously for a deal, cajoling and pressuring Republicans to get in line.

The budget deal alone does not ensure changes, but it will allow Congress to pass Medicaid curbs, oil drilling, tax cuts and other controversial measures with a simple majority in the Senate rather than the 60-vote majority needed to overcome a filibuster.

Unfortunately, the budget is only a first step. When the actual appropriation bills are worked on, the budget limits are sometimes ignored. To make this budget a reality will require a willingness on the part of the President to veto appropriations that exceed it.


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