The Blog

The Senate Democrats' 'Phantom Budget'

2:26 PM, Jul 12, 2011 • By KATE HAVARD
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

After going more than 800 days without releasing a budget, the Senate Budget Committee has leaked a draft of a preliminary budget “blueprint” to the Washington Post

The plan, which comes loaded with “$2 trillion in new taxes,” claims to cut $2 trillion from the budget without reforming entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The “framework” would target the “very wealthiest families,” while also planning to cut almost “$900 billion from the Pentagon over the next decade.”

Senator Kent Conrad (D, N.D.) speaking publicly about the plan for the first time Monday, claimed that Senate Democrats had agreed upon “a budget framework that includes roughly the same amount of deficit reduction as the House Republican plan. In fact, we have somewhat more deficit reduction than did they.” He added: “If the CBO scored the proposal by Senate Budget Committee Democrats, they would not say there is any tax increase here at all…they would say there is a $765 billion tax cut over 10 years”

While this all might sound good to some deficit hawks, Conrad tacitly acknowledged that these claims cannot yet be scored by the Congressional Budget Office because no comprehensive plan has been released. In fact, sources looking closely at what’s available of the Democrats’ plan estimate that for every dollar cut by the “blueprint,” there are actually two dollars in tax hikes—not the 1-to-1 ratio he’s claiming.

Senate Republicans, who have long been pressuring Senate Democrats to draft a plan and release it to the public, are unsatisfied with seeing so little after so long. 

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget committee, spoke on the Senate floor Monday evening, urging Democrats to complete and release their “phantom budget:” “If it’s such a good budget,” he asked, “why don’t you print it up and propose it?”

Kate Havard, a student at St. John's College, is an intern at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers