Auto union slams Obama budget as ‘attack on the middle class’

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget was slammed May 16 as an “attack on the middle class and our most vulnerable citizens” by the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The slam came as Republican senators used the Senate’s complex rules to schedule a floor debate May 16 on five rival budget packages, including a basic version of Obama’s 2012 budget request.

As expected, Obama’s budget got zero votes when it was offered by GOP senators who were seeking to highlight the unpopularity of Obama’s policies. Just after 4 p.m., 99 senators voted against Obama’s budget, marking another embarrassment for the White House.

Obama’s virtual budget was introduced by Sen. Jeff Sessions, the GOP’s budget leader in the Senate.

Early this year, White House officials drafted a bare-bones budget request, but neither they nor their allied Democratic senators have developed a complete budget package for debate in the Senate since 2009.

Four GOP budget proposals were also introduced for debate in the Senate, but all were expected to be voted down by the Democratic majority of 51 senators.

The GOP proposals — including Sessions’ copy of Obama’s budget — were slammed by Democratic-aligned interest groups, including the UAW.

“These proposals are another attack on the middle class and our most vulnerable citizens,” said the letter to senators from the D.C. office of the UAW.

“They would force middle class Americans to make more sacrifices while giving larger tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals … any serious proposal to reduce the federal budget deficit must include increased revenue from wealth individuals and corporations,” read the letter, which did not make a distinction between the Obama budget and the four GOP budget plans.

Democrats have tried to avoid a budget debate because Senate rules for budget-related debates allow minority Republicans to schedule votes on issues that highlight deep differences between the public and Democratic senators.

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