Vice President Cheney Casts Deciding Vote for Passage
Lyons, NE – This morning the Senate voted to approve the Budget Reconciliation spending cut bill by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote after the measure tied. The Vice President was flown home from his aborted Middle East trip to cast the winning vote.
“This bill is not fiscally responsible. It is fiscal larceny and reflects profoundly misguided priorities in Washington,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs.
“This legislation cuts critical conservation, rural development and energy programs; including support for farmer owned ethanol and wind power production, while increasing the deficit – all so the proponents of this fiscal debacle can finance a tax cut for the richest Americans and keep million dollar subsidies flowing to mega farms to help them drive smaller operations out of business,” Hassebrook continued.
Five Republican Senators voted with the Democrats; Senators Snowe (R-ME), Collins (R-ME), Chafee (R-RI), DeWine (R-OH), and Smith (R-OR). Before approving the measure, the Senate failed to overcome three points of order on extraneous policy changes raised against the bill on a 52-48 vote. Three Republicans (Senators Snowe, Chafee, Smith) voted with all the Democrats to on the points of order.
As a result of the winning points of order, the three underlying provisions (none relating to agriculture) will be struck from the bill, and the bill will return to the House for approval, where it will almost certainly win approval whenever the House reconvenes and then be signed into law by President Bush.
The Budget Reconciliation bill will reduce federal spending $39.7 billion over 5 years, cutting student loans, Medicaid, foster care, child support enforcement as well as conservation and rural development. But those savings will be swept away by the $60+ billion in a companion tax cutting bill that is also part of the Budget Reconciliation resolution.
“This Budget Reconciliation process, which was promoted as an effort to reduce the federal deficit, will actually increase the deficit and at the same time make cuts to programs that benefit rural Americans, rural communities, children and America’s most disadvantaged families. This is not progress. We can, and must, do better than this,” said Hassebrook.
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Center for Rural Affairs
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