What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Seniors : A vote on a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95), that would require 60 affirmative Roll Calls for the chamber to be allowed to consider tax cuts or increases in mandatory spending whenever surplus Social Security revenue is being used to cover other spending. (2004 senate Roll Call 33)
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A vote on a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95), that would require 60 affirmative Roll Calls for the chamber to be allowed to consider tax cuts or increases in mandatory spending whenever surplus Social Security revenue is being used to cover other spending.
senate Roll Call 33     Mar 09, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In the first of two votes during the Senate debate on the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 95), conservatives killed an amendment by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, that would require 60 votes before considering tax cuts or increases in mandatory spending whenever surplus Social Security revenue is being used to cover other spending. The way in which Congress develops tax and spending legislation is guided by a set of specific procedures laid out in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Most importantly, the Budget Act calls for the annual development of a congressional "budget resolution." This resolution sets overarching limits on spending and on tax cuts that apply to legislation developed by individual committees - including the appropriations committees, tax-writing committees, and other committees that have jurisdiction over certain spending programs - as well as to any amendments offered to such legislation on the House or Senate floor. Conrad's amendment to the fiscal year 2005 budget resolution debated on the Senate floor was a variation of the Social Security lockbox concept that was the rage in the battles over taxes in 1999 and 2000. But, despite the emergence of record deficits, the lockbox slogan seemed to lose its punch, since its revival would require allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Progressives argued vehemently for the amendment, but lost on a 46-51 roll call vote, with no Republicans voting in its favor. Conservatives argued against the Conrad amendment both on procedural and substantive grounds, claiming that adoption of the amendment would violate the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which states that it is against the law to bring any budget concurrent resolution to the floor of the Senate if you do anything to diminish amount of money the Social Security trust fund. Conservatives also vigorously disagreed that Congress is "raiding" Social Security. "I understand politics, and I understand the way this is being framed, but it is absolutely wrong," said Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.). Rather, Nickles said, Congress does with the Social Security surplus "exactly what the law says we should do. We take that money and buy Treasury bonds. ... Social Security, as well as income taxes, all goes into one big pot. I hope people do not get confused about all the raiding talk," Nickles said. In killing Conrad's amendment, Conservatives staved off an attempt by Democrats to ensure that Social Security trust funds are not used to pay for tax cuts.

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