The Hill - House OKs $3.1 trillion spending plan; fate of approps bills remains uncertain - House Democrats squeaked through a $3.1 trillion spending map that outlines the party’s spending priorities through the next five years and the next president’s term. Most Democrats applauded the measure, but Republicans derided it as a guaranteed recipe for historic tax increases. The 214-210 vote Thursday on the 2009 budget compromise, Congress’s first election-year budget in eight years, also showed that the Democrats’ expanding majority in the House is still volatile. Although Democrats held together a majority of the Blue Dog coalition — winning the votes of 38 of the 47 fiscally conservative lawmakers — they lost the votes of the three newest members of their caucus. Reps. Don Cazayoux (D-La.), Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) — all elected from Republican districts in special elections this year — voted against the conference report on the budget. The three newest House members joined 11 other Democrats — including nine Blue Dogs — in voting against the majority. Not a single Republican voted for the budget resolution.
Roll Call - Some Blue Dogs Balk on Budget - Fiscally conservative Democrats made their feelings known about spending in the $3 trillion fiscal 2009 budget blueprint, which narrowly passed the House on Thursday. Blue Dogs made up the bulk of the 14 Democrats who sided with Republicans in opposing the resolution, which squeaked by on a 214-210 vote. They were also a chunk of the seven Democrats not voting at all. No Republicans voted for the resolution. Democrats who voted against the budget plan were Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Dan Cazayoux (La.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Bill Foster, (Ill.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Nick Lampson (Texas), Jim Matheson (Utah), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.) and Patrick Murphy (Pa.).
Of those, nine are part of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and three — Cazayoux, Childers and Foster — are recent special election winners in previously Republican districts. Of the seven Democrats who voted “present” on the budget bill, three are Blue Dogs: Reps. Melissa Bean (Ill.), Jim Marshall (Ga.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.).
Despite the close vote, Blue Dog leaders subsequently issued a statement praising the budget plan for seeking to eliminate wasteful spending and for adhering to pay-as-you-go rules. Blue Dog Co-Chairman Mike Ross (D-Ark.) described the measure as “a fiscally responsible, PAYGO-compliant budget resolution.” “The Blue Dogs take our commitment to fiscal responsibility very seriously, and this budget conference report is another example of how Democrats are working to live up to this commitment,” said Blue Dog Co-Chairman Allen Boyd (D-Fla.).