The United States Senate will vote on two bills pertaining to the budget this week. One is H.R. #1 which calls for an across the board 14.3% decrease in non-defense spending. The House bill calls for 61 Billion dollars in decreased spending. Experts say that among other problems the bill would cause backlogs in Social Security claims, undermine nuclear weapon safety, remove 200,000 children from Head Start programs, decrease Pell Grants, and close Poison Control Centers across the country.
The second bill that they will vote on came from Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye, and that bill calls for 6.5 billion dollars in new budget cuts. John Boehner says that this plan submitted by the Democrats is “unacceptable”. He says it is more of the status quo, and that voters will not accept continued spending that does not take the national debt into account. Republicans are committed to their campaign promises of reducing spending by $100 billion dollars this year. This reduction would be based on the Obama budget of last year that was never passed by Congress.
Federal Reserve Chairman announced earlier this month that the 61 billion dollar House bill will cause the loss of several hundred thousand jobs. The jobs involved would be mostly government jobs. Recent national unemployment figures were a bright spot on the fiscal landscape.
Steve Bell, former Senate Staff Budget Committee Director, says that the best way for the federal government to reduce spending is to cut salaries and expenses. He said that it is too expensive to cancel contracts already in place because there would be penalties. No one has said whether or not Congress will consider giving up the pay raise voted into place for officials this year.
Many are expecting a compromise between the two proposals before the Senate this week.
The government will be forced to shut down if Congress does not vote to increase the national debt figure once again. The last time the government shut itself down was in the middle 1990’s. Government employees did not come to work but still got paid. Social Security and Medicare administrators have already stated that they would in any case continue to issue their checks for payment as they did before. Food Stamps are what were cut off in the 1990’s and probably would be again. If no Congressional funding is approved, the government would be considered to be shut down. Needless to say, tax payers would continue to pay taxes.
It is the Republicans who are very open to a shut down. The Senate is under a lot of pressure to come up with a plan this week. Those up for re-election in 2012 will be going on record as to what to do about the over $14 trillion dollars of the now existing federal government debt.