What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Insuring Government Has Adequate Financing to Function : S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Restore PAYGO Rules to the Congressional Budget Process. (2005 senate Roll Call 53)
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S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Restore PAYGO Rules to the Congressional Budget Process.
senate Roll Call 53     Mar 16, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In an effort to reduce the growth of federal budget deficits, Congress passed the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 which created a "pay as you go" (PAYGO) system of congressional budgeting. PAYGO rules required that any new spending initiatives or tax cuts-both of which drain money from the U.S. Treasury and increase the budget deficit as a result-must be offset with revenue increases or spending cuts in other areas. In 2002, PAYGO rules were allowed to expire and budget deficits have exploded since that time as the Bush Administration has enacted a series of tax cuts without offsetting revenue increases. During debate on the 2006 Budget Resolution-a non-binding budgetary blueprint for taxing and spending goals for the upcoming year and beyond-Senator Feingold (D-WI) introduced an amendment which would have restored PAYGO rules. Progressives supported Feingold's amendment as a way to protect the future of Social Security and restore fiscal discipline on Capitol Hill. According to Feingold, "We have to stop running deficits because they cause the Government to use the surpluses of the Social Security trust fund for other Government purposes rather than to pay down the debt and help our Nation prepare for the coming retirement of the baby boom generation. We have to stop running deficits because every dollar we add to the Federal debt is another dollar we are forcing our children to pay back in higher taxes or fewer Government benefits." Conservatives opposed Feingold's amendment and argued that PAYGO rules should not apply to legislation which reduces taxes because tax cuts (counterintuitively) increase revenue to the U.S. Treasury. Senator Kyl (R-AZ) expressed this view succinctly: "The purpose of a tax cut is to ensure that we can continue to sustain economic growth, to create jobs, basically to provide more capital to be invested into businesses which can hire more people, can produce more goods, which can create more revenue. And again, what happens with that growing economy-revenue increases to the Treasury." Progressives voted unanimously in favor of Feingold's amendment but the measure was struck down on a tie vote of 50-50 and PAYGO rules were not restored to the congressional budget process. (Tie votes result in defeat unless the Vice President, acting in his capacity as President of the Senate, casts a tie-breaking vote in favor of the proposal.)

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