Bayh and Nelson: We Prefer a GOP Budget

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I noted earlier that two of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats–Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson–voted against the Democrats’ budget. That’s not terribly surprising. The resolution wasn’t vulnerable to a filibuster, their votes weren’t strictly necessary, and, whether they were ideologically opposed to the measure that passed, or adhering to the demands of their conservative constituents, or bending to the whims of special interests, voting “no” allows them to say they voted “no” without necessarily wedding themselves to an alternative proposal.

Enter Mike Johanns, the freshman Republican senator from Nebraska whose amendment preventing the Senate from passing climate change legislation through the reconciliation process passed on Tuesday.He also authored a different measure–not an amendment, but a “motion to recommitt”–which would have scrapped the budget that passed and replaced it with a much more conservative version. Most significantly, it would have indexed non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending to the expected rate of inflation. It failed 43-55–for all intents and purposes a mirror image of the vote on the final budget resolution. Which is to say that Bayh and Nelson voted for the “Johanns Budget”.

I don’t have all the details of the Johanns budget motion just yet, but will pass them along when I do. And I’ll place a call for comment to Bayh’s and Nelson’s staffs to see if there’s more to this than simply that the two would have preferred a Johann-shaped budget to the Democrats’.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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