This is to followup and emphasize points made by Soren Dayton.
-- The number of days since the Senate last passed a budget, April 29, 2009.
It’s bad enough when your government is borrowing more than $1 trillion a year – more than one third of its total outlays. It’s way worse when the green-eyeshade team at the Congressional Budget Office go to work on long-term expenditures.
Medicare, Social Security, Defense and government pension legacy costs look boggling in real time. On a 10-year curve they become dispiriting on both sides of the aisle.
To deal with this gloom, the Obama Democrats have opted to simply ignore it. They have the Senate just sit on the budget ball. The president, as required, proposes a budget, but does so confident in the knowledge that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not ever bring it forward for a vote.
It's about time we highlighted our budgetary problem lies in the Senate. A failure to grapple with Senate fiscal irresponsibility is a big part of why we aren't cutting spending and why we are at a political disadvantage. The Senate's approach is the real reason we got skunked in deals (Reid writes the 'deals'), the real reason we cannot get fiscal responsibility (they wont pass a budget or control any spending), and the real roadblock (Obama hides behind Senate inaction so HE'S not faced with the choice of 'pass or veto/shutdown').
The dysfunctional Senate is policy disaster and politically convenient for the Democrats, because what we have seen is the Republicans actually bear the brunt of the political price of dysfunction - namely, Republicans get blamed for the 'legislation by crisis' THAT IS A CREATION OF HARRY REID'S DELIBERATE POLITICAL STRATEGY TO AVOID FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Democrats in the Senate have all the votes they need to pass a real budget and show the American people their plan for today and the future. But they refuse, because they don't want to be held accountable. They would rather cut backroom deals that hide the details of their plans, and then take political pot shots at Republicans who have had the courage to produce and vote for a serious budget.
Democrats claim that last year's Budget Control Act is an adequate substitute for a real budget because it "deems" spending caps. Obviously, it is not. It is only half the equation. It includes no plan for saving Social Security or Medicare, for reforming taxes, or for ever living within our means. But it does prove that Washington is certainly good at making sure spending continues.
- Senator Ron Johnson
The dysfunction of the Senate was highlighted by Sen Rand Paul and others IN the Senate. As of right now, their failure to pass budgets, Senator Reid's refusal to limit spending, and the Senator John Cornyn released PR asking three basic simple questions of the President:“When will the President formally submit his request for an increase in the debt ceiling to Congress?“How much of an increase in the debt ceiling does the President want?“The White House has indicated this year’s budget request will not be submitted on time – when can Congress expect to receive it?”
These questions beg a few more questions, such as: Why didnt the press hammer the President in these points? And what is the Senate, in particular Senator Reid, going to do?
Since the Republican attempt to lead had failed, and attempt to negotiate is refused, we are left with simply getting the onus back on the Senate. Multiple times, we have seen the same game played out:
- Fiscal conservatives demand "Action!" to fix things; The Senate does nothing
- The House makes an attempt to walk the tightrope between what conservatives want and what is a 'practical compromise', it is rebuffed by Obama; the Senate does nothing
- The crisis deepens as we get closer to a deadline and so Republicans start caving or coming up with more and "plan B" alternatives to attempt to get to a solution; The Senate does nothing!! Meanwhile, Obama digs in while attacking Republicans for refusing to negotiate.
- At the last minute, Senator Harry Reid swoops him, writes his magic bill and in relief or disgust the Republicans walk the plank for the sorry piece of 'compromise' legislation.
If we want to avoid this charade again, we have to get to the twin roots of the problem: #1 - President Obama is the wrong person to negotiate with, and #2 - The Senate does nothing.
Which does beg the question: Where's the budget out of the Senate? Where's the debt ceiling increase out of the Senate? The Republican House should pass a modest debt ceiling increase (of $200 billion or less) and with that some modest spending reductions (e.g. rebaseline next years spending down by $50 billion, saving $500 billion over 10 years). Then challenge the Senate to pass that or something else.