House Crushes Bowles-Simpson Budget

A budget resolution based on the work of President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission went down in flames Wednesday night in the House.

A version of the Bowles-Simpson budget — the commission never found the majority needed to report out an official one — was defeated 38-382. The measure was offered by Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH) in the run-up to Thursday’s vote on the GOP’s updated blueprint written by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.Just 16 Republicans and 22 Democrats voted for the plan, which reduces the debt by trillions of dollars with a litany of spending cuts, including to safety-net programs and tax increases on high-income earners. The broad concept served as a sort-of model for failed discussions last year between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, and the Wednesday vote is a sign that such an approach has fallen on deaf ears in both parties.

Among those who voted yes was the No. 3 House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC).

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a vocal advocate for restarting talks on a Bowles-Simpson-style grand bargain, explained his vote against the plan.

“In order to achieve a big and balanced deficit-reduction package, we must build a broad consensus,” Hoyer said in a statement. The Cooper-LaTourette measure, he fretted, “came to the floor before that broad consensus could be achieved, which is why I voted against it. … I continue to believe that the Bowles-Simpson model should be a basis for ongoing discussions in the effort to create the needed consensus.”

Conservative advocates such as Grover Norquist and the Heritage Foundation whipped against the proposal, unhappy with its tax hikes on the rich.