While the House passed a $1.4 trillion budget plan pushed by Democratic leaders on Wednesday, Utah's two Democrats were among 17 Democratic mavericks who voted against it. They said it doesn't do enough to reduce the national deficit.
Reps. Wayne Owens and Bill Orton, D-Utah, rebelled against party leadership on the bill that passed anyway, 261-163. Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, also voted against the bill that was patterned by last year's budget summit agreement with the Bush administration.Owens told the House that while he voted for the summit agreement last year, "I supported it only because it was the best possible at the time, the lesser of the fiscal evils we then faced."
He added, "I was prepared to do more in terms of raising consumer taxes and increasing spending cuts because the deficit reduction levels were totally inadequate."
Orton said, "I cannot vote in favor of any budget which would saddle the American people with an additional $300 billion in debt."
He added, "I told the voters in Utah when I ran for Congress last fall that I wanted to bring fiscal responsibility to the budget process. But the president's budget (which failed earlier, 335-89, for proposing such things as a $25 million cut in Medicare) and the Democratic alternative budget do little to halt the spiral of American indebtedness."
While they voted against the bill, Orton and Owens praised some of its objectives - such as boosting support for education, Head Start and expanded child nutrition and vaccination programs.