By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The two year Ryan-Murray budget deal passed the Senate on Wednesday, after moderate Republicans joined with Democrats to override a filibuster by Republican Senators which included both Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions (R) and Richard Shelby (R).
The deal did not balance the budget, did not repeal the unpopular Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare), did not reform the tax code, did not reform entitlements, and did not put the nation on a path towards a balanced budget in the next ten years.
The deal ended the unpopular sequestration cuts set by the Budget Control Act of 2011. There was bipartisan support for some spending cuts however. Federal pensions including veterans’ pensions will receive smaller future cost of living increases than what veterans and federal workers were promised.
Candidate for the Seventh Congressional District of Alabama Matt Jenkins (R) from Tuscaloosa opposes the bipartisan deal struck in the Senate to approve the House Budget. In a written statement Mr. Jenkins said that he was incensed when he read through the portions that cut Veteran’s retirement benefits by 1%.
Mr. Jenkins said in a written statement, “Of all the representatives that I thought would never turn on our military, some in the Republican Party have. These brave men and women go abroad to defend and protect our nation and her interest and they have to absorb our nations cuts? Why didn’t they cut from the Muslim Brotherhood spending? Why didn’t they cut aid to foreign countries that dislike America? Why didn’t they cut the funding for testing shrimp on treadmills? This is insanity making our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen pay the price! This is why I am running for Congress. Somebody needs to stand up, defend and support our troops and the sacrifices they have made for America. If the Congress felt like they needed to cut $6 billion from the budget, I am sure I could have figured out better places than from the Veterans retirement checks.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) from Nebraska has complained that the increasing costs of veterans benefits is taking up too much of the defense budget and combined with the sequestration cuts was leading to a hollowing out of America’s defense capabilities.
Senator Jeff Sessions as the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee was on the special budget committee. According to Sessions, the deal on the budget however was crafted by Co-chairs Representative Paul Ryan (R) and Senator Patty Murray (D) from Washington and did not even go to the Committee for a vote. Instead the deal went straight to the House where it passed last week.
A conservative filibuster in the Senate delayed the deal for a couple of days in the Senate, but on Wednesday 14 Republican Senators joined with Democrats to override that effort and pass the budget deal into law. The bipartisan package amounts to a two year truce between Republicans and Democrats to accept ballooning entitlement spending while not raising taxes substantially.
If Jenkins wins the Republican Primary on June 3 (the Alabama Political Reporter is not aware of a primary opponent to this point), Jenkins will face Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) from Selma in the November general election.