Senate Democrats reject Republican spending bill, press for compromise
The House bill drafted by Republicans that was meant to cut $61 billion from the national deficit has been rejected by Democrats in the Senate who hope that the GOP will instead try to compromise.
Like when it was passed in the House, the bill received no Democratic votes in the Senate, either. The Democrat's alternate solution, which would cut $6 billion, also failed to pass, The Washington Post reports.
"Today's vote establishes there is clearly a need to work toward a reasonable middle ground," White House budget director Jack Lew told Politico.
The Republican-backed bill was rejected 44-56, while the Democrat legislation fell short at 42-58. Both moderates and liberals decided not to vote for the bill, calling the proposal a weak way to deal with the national deficit.
"Any plan to tackle our fiscal crisis must make a material difference in reducing the deficit," said Senator Michael Bennet (D-Col.), the news source reports. "And everyone should be asked to shoulder part of the burden."
One of the main problems is that Republicans only want to focus on massive cuts to specific parts of the national budget, namely foreign and domestic aid, while Democrats are trying to spread the cuts so no one area is disproportionately affected.
As for the Republican's $61 billion in cuts, some have worried that applying such a decisive and sudden slash could do more damage than good. Even some Republicans, such as Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voiced their concerns that the cuts could harm low-income families.
"I am left with a choice between a proposal that doesn’t go nearly far enough and one that makes many wrong choices," said Collins, The Portland Press Herald reports. She voiced her hopes that the round of rejections would force more bipartisan cooperation going forward.