What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Prevent the Consideration of $70 Billion in Tax Cuts Under Budget Reconciliation Rules. (2005 senate Roll Call 59)
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S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Prevent the Consideration of $70 Billion in Tax Cuts Under Budget Reconciliation Rules.
senate Roll Call 59     Mar 17, 2005
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The annual congressional budget resolution provides a non-binding budgetary blueprint for taxing and spending goals for the upcoming year (and beyond). While the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) writes the initial budget blueprint, Congress is responsible for appropriating federal money. When the budget resolution contains policy changes to mandatory spending (entitlements) or revenue programs (tax laws), an optional process known as budget reconciliation can be utilized to achieve the taxing and spending goals of the budget resolution. Initially created to reduce budget deficits by allowing lawmakers to fine tune the budget resolution through additional legislation, the reconciliation process has been used in recent years to achieve policy change on highly controversial issues. President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001, for instance, was adopted as a reconciliation bill. Reconciliation rules impose tight restrictions on debate and amendment and only a bare majority of 51 senators is required to pass a reconciliation bill. Moreover, unlike the budget resolution, a reconciliation bill has the force of law. In short, the reconciliation process is one of the few ways to prevent a Senate filibuster because debate on reconciliation bills is time limited and there is no supermajority vote requirement. During debate on the 2006 Budget Resolution, Senator Carper (D-DE) offered an amendment which would have prevented the consideration of $70 billion in tax cuts contained in the budget resolution under reconciliation rules. "If proponents of additional tax cuts wish to cut taxes further," Carper explained, "they should pay for them [with offsetting spending cuts or revenue increases elsewhere in the budget]." Progressives supported Carper's amendment based on their view that the massive amounts of tax cutting by President Bush and the Republican Congress have plunged the country into enormous debt-an estimated $9.4 trillion in 2006, up from $3.3 trillion in 2000-and budget deficits for years to come. More tax cuts, they argued, will not solve the government's miserable financial situation. Senator Conrad (D-ND) explained that "our Republican friends are plenty ready to spend the money, but they do not want to raise the taxes to cover their spending, and they don't want to cut their spending to match their revenue. The result is deficits as far as the eye can see." Conservatives opposed Carper's amendment and argued that additional tax cuts would spur economic growth. In the words of Senator Allard (R-CO), "I for one am going to stand and say, look, we need to have those [tax cut] provisions in the budget because we want to continue to see economic growth so that we can continue to have a strong and competitive economy. If we just turn loose the free enterprise system, the American people will generate the revenue that we need to sustain our economy." Five Republicans joined forty-three Democrats in support of Carper's amendment, but the measure was narrowly defeated 49-51 and the reconciliation process remained available (and will almost surely be used) for enacting an additional $70 billion in tax cuts in 2006.

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