On 2 April 2009, on the eve of a two-week spring recess, the House and Senate each approved versions of a fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget resolution. The White House praised the approval of these roughly $3.5 billion budget blueprints and cited them as being a key step towards new climate and energy legislation, as well as other domestic matters.

The votes on passage of the resolutions fell largely along party lines in both chambers, with votes of 233-196 in the House and 55-43 in the Senate. In the House, 20 Democrats voted against the budget. Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) joined Senate Republicans to oppose the Senate’s budget plan.

Significantly, the House and Senate budget resolutions differ. Thus, the process must continue as both chambers seek to resolve differences and the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that after lawmakers return from the recess, one of their first tasks will be to produce a budget conference report. House and Senate leaders say their budget closely resembles the outline released by the administration, but the two resolutions differ on spending levels and several budget deficit issues.

The White House has requested $540 billion. The House budget would provide for $533 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, but the Senate would provide $525 billion. The Senate version also contains policy provisions from midwestern Senators. These amendments, absent from the House plan, often address climate and energy policy and seek to offer protections for manufacturing industries and consumers. For example, an amendment from Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) would require a 60-vote majority for climate and energy legislation that would cause significant job loss in the manufacturing or coal-dependent regions of the United States. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) secured an amendment that would require that any climate change legislation include policies that protect domestic jobs and provides for green technology job training.

 


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