Congress Will Vote on 2011 Budget Compromise

Congress Will Vote on 2011 Budget Compromise

Failure to pass legislation could lead to government shutdown.

The U.S. House and Senate will vote today on the 2011 spending bill that would cut $39.9 billion from last year's spending levels. The package mandates roughly $20 billion in spending cuts from discretionary programs, and another $18 billion from "changes in mandatory programs," or CHIMPS, which involve programs funded for multiyear blocks that don't require annual spending approval by Congress.

The House is expected to pass the bill but the Senate needs 60 votes to do so. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., say they will vote against it. Among other things, the bill eliminates funding for the Obama administration's Climate Change Czar.

Following its vote on the 2011 spending bill, the House is expected to then vote on Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan's 2012 spending bill. Ryan's bill cuts $5 trillion of spending over the next decade, reforms Medicaid and Medicare, defunds health care, and reduces taxes. Meanwhile, Representative Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has released House Democrats version of the 2012 federal budget. Van Hollen's budget preserves Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and repeals Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 per year.

Wednesday at George Washington University, President Obama proposed cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years by reducing entitlement programs.  Those programs would include Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Obama's plan, a mix of $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases comes on the heels of the Republicans' proposal, which would cut $5.8 trillion from deficit spending over 10 years, but offers a more drastic downsizing of government, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

"When the president reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc. "Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis."

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