Senate Democrats intend to approve a budget for the first time in almost four years, a prominent lawmaker said Sunday, but he said it will call for higher tax revenues that Republicans are sure to oppose.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also said an announcement by House Republicans that they plan to approve a short-term increase in the nation’s borrowing limit without demanding spending cuts was a “positive step.” He added, though, the extension should be longer than the three months they have outlined.
“We don’t want to play fiscal cliff every three months,” Schumer said.
Republicans in recent days have backed away from their insistence that they would not increase the nation’s borrowing limit — known as the debt ceiling — without deep spending concessions. If the new proposal holds, the shift would clear the way for Congress to avoid a potential government default this spring.
But GOP officials insist that they will not move unless Senate Democrats give them the debate over the federal budget they have been denied for years.
“All of us losing our pay if we don’t pass a budget is the right thing to do,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and a favorite of tea partyers, said he supports the strategy from his party’s leaders in the House.
“There is no doubt the Senate hasn’t done its job,” said Cruz, who was elected to his first term in November. “It’s been nearly four years since it’s passed a budget. And the Senate should pass a budget.”
The Senate Republicans will get a budget from the Democrats, Schumer said.
“We Democrats have always intended to do a budget this year,” Schumer said, adding the Democrats’ budget would raise taxes while offering overhauls to the tax code likely to find Republican support.
“We’re going to do a budget this year and it’s going to have revenues in it. And our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact,” Schumer added hours before President Barack Obama began his second term, which officially began at noon Sunday and will be heralded with celebrations around the capital city a day later.