Senate votes down Ryan budget, balanced budget requirement

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

The Senate defeated the House Republican budget Thursday evening, with five Republican senators joining Democrats in voting against it.

The budget, authored by House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan, would balance the budget in 10 years through a combination of cuts to entitlement programs and non-defense discretionary spending. It passed in the House earlier on Thursday.

The Ryan budget was proposed as an amendment by a Democrat, Senate budget committee chair Patty Murray. The goal was to force Republicans to take a stance on a budget that Democrats see as unpopular and politically problematic. No Republican proposed the Ryan budget as an amendment.

“Most Republicans would rather run away from it. We saw that happen during the presidential campaign. And we’re not going to let them run,” New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters earlier on Thursday.

The Senate defeated the plan late Thursday evening by a 40-59 margin. The vote went almost entirely along party lines, with the exception of five Republicans who joined Democrats in voting against it: Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Susan Collins.

Cruz, Paul, and Lee are among the most conservative members of the Senate, while Collins is one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate also defeated an amendment that would have forced Senate Democrats to go back and redraw the budget to make it balance by 2023, which is what the Ryan budget does. The amendment, which was proposed by the ranking Republican on the Senate budget committee, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, was defeated by a 46-53 margin.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat who joined Republicans in voting for the amendment.

Sessions’ office noted that a number of Democrats who voted against the motion have expressed support for a balanced budget in the past: Sens. Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, Mark Begich, Bill Nelson, Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, Claire McCaskill, Kristen Gillibrand, Tom Carper, Harry Reid, Mary Landrieu, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, Tim Johnson, Max Baucus, Dick Durbin, Jon Tester, and Bob Casey.

Follow Alexis on Twitter