New Dems Take a Stand Against Growing Budget Deficits
Ben Weyl, Budget & Appropriations Brief Editor for POLITICO Pro, highlights the fiscally responsible New Democrats and the House Budget vote. Many New Democrat Coalition Members voted against the Yarmuth Amendment as well as the GOP-proposed budget. The New Democrat Coalition mention can be found below and you can read the full piece here.
By BEN WEYL 01/20/17 04:10 PM EST
DEMOCRATIC DIVISIONS — Democrats were united last week in opposition to the GOP budget that paves the way for Obamacare repeal. But a few cracks started to show on the fiscal front, as 37 largely moderate House Democrats voted against the alternative proposal offered by John Yarmuth, the Budget Committee ranking member. The procedural vote typically produces a party-line showing, but leaders of the centrist New Democrat Coalition saw an early opportunity to take a stand against growing budget deficits.
The 54-member caucus did not formally whip the vote. But sources tell the Brief that multiple lawmakers, including Chairman Jim Himes, Ron Kind and Scott Peters, were vocal during a meeting that day with officials from the deficit-minded Concord Coalition about the need to vote against both parties’ proposals. Both blueprints envisioned adding some $9.5 trillion to the debt over a decade. That led to the modest rebellion.
“We don’t have to match their really bad idea with an idea that’s not a good idea,” said Peters. “If New Dems are going to change the dialogue, we have to make a statement when these budget votes come up.”
The California Democrat said he expected Republicans to pursue budget-busting measures like huge tax cuts, Obamacare repeal and infrastructure spending without a way to pay for it. “The whole notion that Republicans are fiscally responsible is really up for grabs right now,” he said.
Yarmuth said there were no hard feelings, and he said he wasn’t worried about the party fracturing on more momentous votes in the months to come.
“There’s always a chance that some of the New Dems will go their own way occasionally on budget matters,” he said. “I don’t see any serious divide.”
He added that he’s enjoying his first weeks as top Democrat on the committee. “I loved the floor debate,” he said of the Obamacare repeal fight. “I think we did a good job of making our case and challenging Republicans to put up or shut up with a replacement plan.”