Blue Dogs Bite Into the Senate Budget Debate

Washington, D.C.-Senator Tom Carper (DE) will introduce a budget plan in the Senate nearly identical to the Blue Dog budget alternative, combining the spending restraint found in the president’s budget with a more balanced and fiscally responsible economic plan, as well as strong budget enforcement measures. “It is time to be reasonable, realistic, and fiscally responsible in our budgeting,” Carper said. “The exorbitant tax cuts proposed in the budget currently before the Senate threaten the security of our nation and create skyrocketing deficits that will choke our nation’s ability to meet future challenges, both foreign and domestic, head-on.” “We are delighted Sen. Carper and our other friends in the Senate recognize the need for the common-sense budget approach the Blue Dogs are putting forth,” said Rep. John Tanner (TN), co-chair of the Blue Dog Budget Task Force. “I hope that by working together, we will be able to pass our budget plan and get the federal government on a glide path to balanced budgets.” “With Tom Carper’s long history in the House of fiscal responsibility, I’m not surprised that he is continuing to promote it by introducing the Blue Dog budget in the Senate,” said Rep. Charlie Stenholm (TX), Blue Dog Policy Co-Chair. “He is a great advocate for a great proposal and the Blue Dog Coalition is pleased to have such a strong ally for the American people on board.” The Blue Dog plan–which includes immediate tax relief for all taxpayers by accelerating the lower rate reductions–would put the budget on a path to a unified balance by 2009 and an on-budget balance (non-Social Security) by 2013, preventing the debt tax from increasing and making sure future generations are not left with today’s bills. The budget plan assumes the president’s spending levels, including $400 billion for a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, but ends up with $2 trillion less debt than the president’s plan over the next ten years. By 2013, the Blue Dog plan would pay off $152 billion of publicly held debt. “This is a strong show of support for a simple but important idea–that we must keep on the path of fiscal discipline,” said Rep. Michael H. Michaud (ME), co-chair of the Blue Dog Budget Task Force. “I know how much support this has at every level of government, and now I look forward to working with our friends in the U.S. Senate to pass a sensible balanced budget for this country.” The Blue Dog achieves this sensible balance by deferring tax cuts for income earners over $140,000 until the costs of war are paid off and the budget is put back on a path towards balance. The marriage penalty would be immediately repealed, and estate tax relief would be made permanent now. The Blue Dog plan would also enact budget enforcement measures, such as pay-as-you-go rules, discretionary spending caps, and more transparent budget rules. Senator Carper’s budget plan does contain some differences in specific spending levels, and technical differences due to it being Senate legislation. However, the Blue Dog plan and Carper’s plan are both very consistent with the position put forward recently by the Committee for Economic Development, which is a group of CEOs and business leaders, and the Concord Coalition.