Sessions Hits Back At White House Over Failed Budget Vote

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) disputed the White House’s characterization that the GOP senator’s version of President Obama’s budget that failed 99-0 was not an accurate reflection of his proposal.

After TPM’s story, Sessions’ office emailed the following response Friday from communications director Stephen Miller:

“The White House is understandably desperate to minimize the astonishing repudiation of the President’s financial vision. What the Senate voted on this week was not an interpretation of the President’s budget; it was the President’s budget, introduced in the required form of a budget resolution and in keeping with the Congressional Budget Act. An open offer was extended to Senate Democrats to change anything they felt was not right in what we presented—no takers. Is the White House really suggesting that their budget has support in the Senate, just in some different form? Have they forgotten that the reason it fell on the GOP to offer up the President’s budget is because both House and Senate Democrats were unwilling to do so in the first place? If the White House believed their own spin, then they would have sent up a version of their budget in legislative form months ago and asked Leader Reid to put it to vote. They didn’t and they won’t, so we did.”

The White House argues that Sessions’ version of the budget lacks the specificity needed to ensure appropriators don’t meet the targets in harmful ways.

But Sessions’ office notes that prior to the vote, the senator offered his colleagues the chance to correct “any aspect of the budget” they thought was inaccurate. Democratic senators didn’t take up his offer, nor did they put forth an alternative they believe is more accurate, which suggests they weren’t interested in voting on the proposal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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