DENVER, Colo -- Senate Republicans on Wednesday fended-off a barrage of Democrat-backed amendments, totaling more than $54 million in additional spending, to preserve largely intact a carefully-crafted compromise budget put forward by the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee.
The 3 of 51 amendments that did pass will have little general fund impact.
Democrats took advantage of the budget debate to try and score political points or wrangle eleventh-hour funding for pet projects. But Republicans stood firm in defense of a JBC budget they called reasonable, well-balanced and fiscally responsible.
“That this budget survived every attempt to throw it out of balance is a testament to the transparent and truly collaborative way it was put together by the Joint Budget Committee,” said Senate President Bill Cadman (Colorado Springs). “The careful thought and thorough debate the committee gave to every budget trade-off helped ensure that extreme or extremely costly amendments just wouldn’t fly.”
Democrats offered amendments with a total potential cost of $54 million in general fund dollars, while Republican amendments would have saved $2.8 million, offering a clear contrast in the fiscal philosophies of the parties.
JBC Chairman Senator Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs) again credited committee members from both parties for their collaboration and care in crafting a budget that could pass a narrowly-divided Senate largely as proposed. “The months of due diligence done by committee members from both parties, in terms of analyzing, debating and finding common ground on a reasonable set of budget priorities, is what made passing this milestone possible,” said Lambert. “I don’t doubt that this budget will have a rougher time in the House, but we wrote it in a way that was designed to eventually cross the finish line with bipartisan approval.”
Senator Kevin Grantham (Canon City), who also serves on the JBC, praised the committee’s non-partisan staff for their contribution to this success. “Writing this budget really was a team effort, but members of the team that rarely get enough recognition or credit are Joint Budget Committee professional staff members,” added Grantham. “We couldn’t have put this budget together without their cooperation, professionalism and total dedication.”
The budget now moves on to the House for debate and action.