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Isakson, Chambliss vote against budget
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Expressing dismay over a budget plan that spends, borrows and taxes too much, U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., voted against final passage of the $3.5 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget resolution, which passed by a vote of 55 to 43.

This year’s budget resolution, which serves as a nonbinding blueprint for Congress when it decides how to appropriate federal dollars later in the year, was drafted by Senate Democrats who packed it with heavy spending and tax increases, according to Chambliss and Isakson.

“The American people are facing difficult times,” Isakson said. “We are confronting difficult economic circumstances, and this Congress thinks the solution to our economic struggles is to dramatically increase government spending, raise taxes on American families and businesses, and put our nation deeper in debt. That’s absolutely the wrong answer. We must alleviate the tax burden placed on our citizens, not increase it. We must stop the reckless spending.”

“In this time of economic volatility, Americans are worried,” Chambliss said. They are concerned about their jobs, their mortgages and their mounting debts, and where our country is headed financially,” said Chambliss. “This freewheeling budget that borrows too much and includes the largest tax increase in history will do little to quell those worries. I have four grandchildren — two of them are newborns. They are the ones that will be charged with paying this debt. With this budget, we are making no sacrifices. We are doing ourselves and future generations no favors.”

The budget resolution increases discretionary spending by $490 billion over the next five years and adds $4.96 trillion to the gross national debt. It also raises taxes by $361 billion and allows for $1.3 trillion in additional tax increases.

The Senate rejected a number of amendments supported by Isakson and Chambliss, including measures to:
• Establish a bipartisan commission to examine the long-term fiscal imbalances in the federal budget

• Ensure millions of middle-income families do not face an alternative minimum tax increase in 2013 and 2014

• Create a new 60-vote point of order on earmarks for private for profit entities that are not competitively bid, earmarks that have not been the subject of public hearings where the sponsor has testified on behalf of the earmark, earmarks that have not been posted on a member’s Web site for at least 72 hours before consideration of the legislation and earmarks that are traded for political favors;

• Create a 60-vote point of order on any budget resolution that projects a ratio of debt-to-GDP for any fiscal year in excess of 90 percent to ensure the continued viability of the U.S. dollar and prevent doubling or tripling the debt burden on future generations.

• Encourage exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf by setting up a revenue sharing mechanism for states

• Ensure full funding for construction of the Southwest border fence by creating a 60-vote point of order against any appropriations bill that fails to fully fund the construction of the Southwest border fence

• Protect the freedom of conscience for patients and the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions; and

• Protect the health of all Americans by ensuring that the government does not use comparative effectiveness research as a tool to ration or deny health care, allowing doctors and patients to decide what care is appropriate rather than the government.

Unlike the House Budget Resolution, the Senate Budget Resolution does not include any reconciliation instructions, which could allow major, controversial legislative measures to bypass the committee process and pass the Senate by a simple majority vote. Isakson and Chambliss believe including reconciliation instructions in the budget would allow the Democrats to pass their legislative agenda without debate or bipartisanship. Isakson and Chambliss joined with a majority of the Senate in passing an amendment to the Budget Resolution to prohibit using the reconciliation process to pass the Democrats’ energy tax in the form of a “cap-and-trade” plan to combat global warming.

The Senate unanimously passed an amendment by Isakson to create a deficit-neutral reserve fund for providing a nonrefundable federal income tax credit for the purchase of a principal residence during a one-year period. The amendment would ensure that there is room available in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget levels for a homebuyer credit to be passed at a later date. Isakson plans to introduce his $15,000 tax credit as a stand-alone bill in the next few weeks in an effort to quickly revive the U.S. housing market.