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Senate Passes $3.7 Trillion Budget, Its First in 4 Years

Published: March 23, 2013
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Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — After a grueling, all-night debate that ended close to 5 a.m., the Senate on Saturday adopted its first budget in four years, a $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 that would fast-track passage of tax increases, trim spending gingerly and leave the government still deeply in the debt a decade from now.

The 50-49 vote sets up contentious — and potentially fruitless — negotiations with the Republican-dominated House in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan on Saturday, and four Democrats — Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana — also opposed it. All four are Red State Democrats up for re-election in 2014.

“The Senate has passed a budget,” Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman, declared at 4:56 a.m. Saturday.

The House plan ostensibly brings the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the automatic “sequestration” levels now roiling federal programs, and it orders significant changes to Medicare and the tax code.

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