Senate Democrats say they will soon pass their first budget in four years, but it is proving a test.
Disputes over tax cuts, spending reductions and entitlement reform all present challenges to Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The Democrats’ narrow 12-10 majority on the panel means one defection would mean failure, if Republicans stick together as expected.
There is more leeway on the Senate floor because budget resolutions cannot be filibustered and Democrats control 55 seats. Still, the party can afford to lose only five votes before Vice President Biden’s deciding ballot would likely become necessary.
Leaders also must steel their members against dozens of poison pill amendments the GOP is preparing to slip into the budget mix.