WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, the Republican-led Senate voted 52-46 in favour of the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) Budget Resolution, according to the US Senate Appropriations Committee.
Republicans claim they will balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending on domestic programs and repealing Obamacare. Moreover, they argue their budget will stimulate US economic growth and reduce the national debt without increasing taxes or compromising on military spending, according to several US Senators in press releases issued on Friday.
US Senator Mike Enzi pointed out that the US Congressional Budget Office estimated the Republicans’ budget will boost the nation’s economic growth by $500 billion over the next ten years.
In terms of national security, the Republican proposal will increase funding for off-the-budget war-fighting operations abroad, while keeping automatic spending cuts in place, referred to as sequestration, on the US Department of Defense’s long-term baseline budget.
The FY2016 budget calls for increasing funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations Account by $38 billion while keeping the Defense Department base level budget capped at the $531 billion sequestration level, according to US Senator Lindsey Graham.
Critics, however, argue that the Republican budget proposal plays political games with defense spending, and hurts the middle-class by slashing social, healthcare and economic programs, the White House and a number of Senate Democrats said in press statements on Friday.
The White House described the Republican funding of military contingency operations as a “gimmick” that tries to lend the impression they are strong on national defense. The White House noted that such a position is in contrast to Obama’s budget that calls for $38 billion in additional defense spending above baseline sequestration limits.
“The steep and careless cuts this budget proposes are tone-deaf to the daily challenges facing hard-working families, seniors, the sick and those who are one paycheck away from living on the street,” Booker said in a press release on Friday.
US Senator Bernie Sanders said the Republican budget represents a “rich-get-richer” approach that cuts taxes for the wealthy at the expense of working class families.
Sanders said he failed to persuade Senate Republicans to include amendments to their budget that would increase spending on infrastructure, close offshore tax loopholes, prevent cuts to healthcare for seniors, reduce emissions and increase the minimum wage.
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives approved a similar fiscal budget resolution for 2016.
Members of the House and Senate will meet in April 2015 to resolve differences and negotiate a compromise budget.