Senate narrowly passes $3.7 trillion budget, its first in 4 years. But nobody is talking about this part of it.


budget cartoon via  Clay Bennett from The Chattanooga Times Free PressVia Clay Bennett from The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Here is a New York Times email alert about the budget:

After an all-night debate that ended close to 5 a.m., the Senate on Saturday adopted its first budget in four years, a $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 [...]

The 50-49 vote sets up contentious — and potentially fruitless — negotiations with the Republican-dominated House to reconcile two different visions for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Max Baucus of Montana, also opposed it. All four are Red State Democrats up for re-election in 2014.

Well now, there are four Democrats we sure don't need. Replacing ConservaDems with more progressive representatives won't be easy, but we can't stop trying. This means doing everything we can to get good candidates elected at every level, starting locally, with school boards and city councils, and continue grassroots efforts to build from the bottom up.

So yes, four "Dems" joined every Senate Republican in voting against this budget. Bummer.

But I have yet to hear a word mentioned about another bummer, this very disturbing part of the bill. Via the L.A. Times:

And the proposed Keystone oil pipeline, between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, drew broad bipartisan support.

To all those inexplicably shortsighted members of Congress and the Obama administration, here's the problem: There has been a huge jump in atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuels. So how’s that Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline coming along?

Yet the State Dep’t. draft report looks promising for backers of Keystone XL even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

It would also create very few long term jobs, gas prices would increase, dependence on foreign oil would not lessen, and Bill McKibben and NASA’s Jim Hansen both warn that it would be “essentially game over for the climate” if this crackpot project gets the go ahead.

Yet it is getting "broad bipartisan support." From bipartisan recipients of Big Oil money.

The good news:

Women benefited from the exercise, as Republicans showed no interest in fighting Democratic proposals to ensure equal pay and reproductive care. Both issues were approved.

And of course, the Senate had this incentive:

One outcome was guaranteed: paychecks for the senators.

Failure to approve budgets this year would have suspended pay for the lawmakers under a provision slipped into a law earlier this year by House Republicans to goad Democratic senators into presenting their own budget proposal — and saving their $174,000 a year salaries.

Congress is now enjoying a two-week Easter recess.

senate calendar 2013