The Senate Budget Votes

I wouldn’t make too big a deal about this, since it’s just one chamber’s version of a non-binding budget resolution, but the Senate did pass one 52-46, taking the “defense hawk” approach (also pursued by the House) of boosting defense spending through a “contingency fund” gimmick that avoids the need for offsets. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz voted against it in protest against the “gimmicks,” preferring even deeper domestic spending cuts than the cool $5 trillion in the resolution.

It was interesting that Republicans were split on a Democratic amendment to set up a limited paid family and medical leave experiment. Dave Weigel has the story:

The amendment retooled the Healthy Families Act, a bill that faces a steep hill in a Republican Congress. Yet unlike most of the Democrat’s amendments this one was agreed to, picking up every member of Murray’s party and 16 Republicans. From the Republican side: New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Arizona Senator John McCain, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.

All are up for re-election in 2016; Ayotte, Kirk, Portman, and Toomey are up in states that voted twice for President Barack Obama. Of Republicans up in 2010, the senators from reliable red states were “no” votes, including Arkansas Senator John Boozman, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, and Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Of the senators being challenged by Democrats, only Missouri Senator Roy Blunt voted against the amendment.

Also singing in the Republican “no” chorus: All of the senators considering 2016 presidential bids. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio all opposed the Murray amendment.

Nope, Republicans running for president cannot be on Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton’s side of much any issue.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.