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  • Senator Reid on the Budget: Not Interested

    It is bad enough that, after more than 1,000 days since passing a budget resolution, the Senate has decided to forgo this fundamental obligation once again this year. Even worse is the absurd excuse by Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D–NV) that a budget resolution is unnecessary because Congress already has one—in the form of the Budget Control Act (BCA).

    Reid and other Senate leaders contend that the spending cap in the BCA, the product of last year’s debt ceiling debate, is a sufficient proxy for a budget resolution. This nonsensical claim willfully misrepresents the scope of a budget resolution and reflects how thoroughly the Senate majority has abandoned its fundamental governing responsibilities.

    It ensures that, although the House will adopt a budget resolution, Congress will stumble along for at least another year without a coherent bicameral plan to begin addressing the government’s looming fiscal crisis—because the Senate has simply chosen not to consider one. If taken seriously, after three straight fiscal years without a congressional budget resolution, this decision could spell the end of any coherent practice of congressional budgeting itself, simply by neglect.

    A budget resolution is a broad budget framework that sets priorities for spending and taxes. It guides how much will be spent and where spending should be allocated among government programs such as national defense, transportation, welfare, Medicare, and so on. A budget resolution also establishes what tax policies and major program reforms should be adopted. It charts the budget course in a rational, coherent way for all the spending and tax bills that follow.

    The BCA was never more than a poor substitute for a budget resolution—a rushed, eleventh-hour “solution” to a manufactured debt ceiling crisis. Its cap on discretionary budget authority affects only about one-third of total spending, and it is riddled with deliberate loopholes that make the limit all but meaningless. Apart from that, the BCA contained a requirement for a “super committee” to identify at least $1.2 trillion for additional deficit reduction. That process has failed, triggering a crude enforcement procedure that now threatens devastating cuts in defense spending and must be rewritten.

    But the BCA offers no sense of budgeting priorities (as a budget resolution does), no recommendations for entitlement reforms, no overall direction for major spending and tax policies. To say, as Senator Reid did, that because of the BCA, “We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year—it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” is to disavow a fundamental obligation of governing.

    The Senate’s planned inaction on a budget is a cavalier choice not to take its governing responsibilities seriously. It should be judged on those terms.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Senator Reid on the Budget: Not Interested

    1. steve h says:

      I believe those screaming about the Senate not having a budget may not understand the budget process. The budget creates spending levels for appropriations (discretionary spending) – and those levels have already been set by the Budget Control Act last year. Every one knows what the levels are and where the levels have been set and will remain. The conservatives are just using this silliness to misguide people to think there is no budget being worked on. It's plain political silliness and as usual, the House Republicans will spend a lot of time workign on something that doesn't matter and has no chance of becoming law – and may possible go down as the least productive House in the history of the country – much like the last Congress (2010-2011). Can you name a single major piece of legislation the House worked on in 2010-2011 that became law? And we wonder why Congress has the lowest approval ratings ever.

      • 4Prop8 says:

        The house has submitted plenty to the senate. The senate "does nothing". Who controls the senate?

      • Are you insane? I'm serious…I mean do you have to take Political Medication or something? You're TELLING US how it works? Umm…..I'll shorten your process (in words)…Because you're trying to bury simple facts with a lot of none-sense….(Scenario #1) THE HOUSE proposes a Budget…Votes on it….If it passes, its sent to the SENATE and they get to make changes, reject it or, (Scenario#2)….Show what they have as a budget…(that they propose, voted on and passed)…The two houses sit down with each other…Show what they deem as a PROPOSED budget(s)…..Argue it out, both sides make changes and when agreed sent to the President for his Signature…..PERIOD. If ONE HOUSE passed a Budget, it still has to go to the OTHER house to pass….You do know this correct? I mean this would require you doing a little research…Which of course to a Liberal is like asking a Vampire near an uncovered window at high noon…Get off the boards pal, you're stink'n up the joint…

    2. Boyd Stone says:

      This is a great article. Of course it will have a hard time finding a broad audience because it completely destroys Obama's excuse for not accomplishing more due to a do nothing Republican congress.
      I was also pleased to see that Heritage is running a European state of the economy piece today. I think that is another area the Republican candidates in this country are missing the boat on. The real issue in the upcoming Presidential election should not be the US economy, it should be the European economy. The US economy may have some improvement due to the massive amounts of spending the government has engaged in, which will give voters permission to re-elect Obama if the US economy is the focus. The EU on the other hand is the end state of all Obama's policies. We should be able to point to the financial collapse in the EU as concrete evidence that the policies Obama is pursuing will end in failure–high unemployment and a government unable to pay its' bills. It shouldn't matter if there are is an improvement this year because the EU is absolute proof that it will only be temporary. Spain was doing fairly well four years ago as Obama was holding it up as the example of how to transform a country and create green jobs. Well it still should be the example. Spain has more than 20% unemployment and a government unable to pay it's bills. I think most Americans are capable of understanding that if the Republicans would focus attention on that issue in their campaigns.

      Boyd Stone
      Frisco, TX

    3. Stirling says:

      Senator Reid is just determining the best way to push the DNC agenda is to create an emergency (by not doing his job), and then watch the GOP "compromise." The GOP claims to stand, but has given up their principles on the debt limit increase, and other important issues when they had a chance to say "No." Until the GOP gets a better PR game to explain "Why" (their plan is better), the DNC will roll out the 1/2 truth propaganda game to brainwash the american people into submission.

    4. Vote'em-out says:

      If the senators won't do their legal mandated jobs as i have to do every day why should they accept a pay check, benefits, and a retirement. How can they stand in front of the American people and honestly expect them to take anything they propose seriously. It looks like it's time we the people move to states like Nevada where the Senators refuse take us serious and vote their butts out of office.

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