• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: What's the Senate Thinking?

    April 29 marks the third year in which the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget — a staggering dereliction of duty, particularly given the country’s near-$16 trillion debt. But that’s not the Senate’s only blockbuster failure under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). From spending to jobs to energy policy, the Senate has totally dropped the ball, leaving one to wonder, “What’s the Senate thinking?”

    But it’s not just a matter of a simple failure or benign neglect, like forgetting to take out the trash. The way some in the Senate are behaving is equivalent to buying a dog but then deliberately choosing not to feed it. These men and women sought elective office, won a seat in the Senate and now have the power to take action to confront America’s problems. But under the leadership of Majority Leader Reid, they’re making the choice not to do so.

    When it comes to the Senate’s failure to pass a budget, the facts are bleak. From 2012 to 2022, federal spending per household is projected to rise to $34,602 — a 15 percent increase. Without entitlement reform, that spending is swelling to a crippling level, exceeding 40 percent of the economy by 2050. Despite all this, the Senate is sitting on its hands and not pursuing the significant reforms that are necessary — and opting not to pass a budget for three years is emblematic of their reckless inaction.

    Last week, in fact, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), whose primary responsibility is to marshal bipartisan support of a budget resolution, declined to take on the task, remarking that it would be too difficult in an election year. Last year was not an election year, and they didn’t bother to do it then, either.

    Meanwhile, as America continues to wrestle with staggering unemployment and weak job creation, Senate Democrats yesterday blocked an effort to help workers, employers and the U.S. economy.

    Republican lawmakers moved to halt the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) latest effort to give unions the upper hand in organizing work places. Earlier this year, the NLRB enacted a rule that speeds up union elections, making it easier for unions to grow their ranks by unionizing more workplaces while depriving workers of a truly informed choice in the matter.

    Normally when unions try to organize workers in a business, they plan their efforts before they request an election. Once the employer receives an election request, they have a limited amount of time to inform their workers of why unionization might not be right for them. Under the NLRB’s new rule, employers will have even less time to make their case, all to the detriment of their employees. Heritage’s James Sherk explains the rest of the story that the workers won’t hear:

    Employers, not union organizers, will explain that unions often do not achieve their promised wage increases, but they always take up to 2 percent of workers’ wages in dues. Employers will also point out patterns of union corruption and clauses in union constitutions that levy stiff fines against workers who stray from union rules. Employers are free to tell workers what the union organizers do not.

    Because Senate Democrats blocked the effort to put a stop to the NLRB’s rule, workers will be more likely to be pushed into unions. And make no mistake, the economic consequences won’t be good. Unions reduce profitability, meaning that unionized companies invest less and create fewer new jobs than nonunion companies. Overall, that’s bad news for workers, companies and the U.S. economy.

    Perhaps the ultimate example of what the Senate is all about emerged yesterday when Majority Leader Reid said he would not help in the House Republicans’ effort to force President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which could bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the United States (as well as jobs, economic growth and tax revenue). “Personally I think Keystone is a program that we’re not going — that I am not going to help in any way I can,” Reid said. “The president feels that way. I do, too.”

    Under Reid’s leadership, that’s the name of the game in the U.S. Senate. Regardless of the country’s exploding debt, soaring energy prices or 12.7 million unemployed workers, Reid and his like-minded colleagues are flat out refusing to do the job they were hired to do, all in accord with the president’s agenda. So if you’re wondering what the Senate’s thinking, now you know. Unfortunately, the country’s best interests aren’t what they have in mind.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Energy, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    77 Responses to Morning Bell: What's the Senate Thinking?

    1. Turner says:

      Our country's leadership is dealing us the final bubble.

      • PTTA says:

        What do you expect? The Senate is controlled by Reid, a progessive, lying despeakable Progressive Democrat.

    2. Lindbergh Hodges says:

      If the Senate is required to submit a Budget each year, why is Harry Reid not removed from his leadership position and impeached? Taxpayers are sent to jail for much less things and ignoring the law?

      Also, why do we elect 100 Senators when only one (Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid) makes all of the decisions and blocks any attempt by "real senators" to do the job they were elected to do.

    3. I am so sorry to the country for us Nevadans reelecting this Obama clone back into the senate. I sure didn't vote for him! With him and Obama at the helm of our government we can all kiss our freedoms goodbye. We need to take back our government by electing conservatives to the senate and get rid of Reid!

      • jim brewer says:

        Robert, when you voted for Sharon Angle, the voting machine inserted reids name. now what is needed is a nevada ag investigation for the voter fraud that was shown in 2010.reid didn't even campaign but won anyway. the voting public is not stupid. and it was shown that the unions were the maintainers of the machines. it only takes one citizen in most states to call for the ag to begin the investigation. that is as long as the ag is not a demoncrap.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        I am glad to know that you feel that way. I agree with you 100%

      • Dara says:

        I'm a lifetime NV resident and I've NEVER voted for Reid! He is – and has been so crooked that they'll have to screw him into the ground when he dies…

        He, with the help of illegals and his union goons – stole the last election, pure and simple.

        I agree… even if Obama should (God forbid) win this election, we must hold the House and take control of the Senate. Dirty Harry has GOT to go!

      • Then why don't you have a recall election and remove him? Nevada is a state that can recall their elected officials. Do something about it and right now would be a great time to do it?

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Reid and the Dems in the Senate do not have to "think". The only rule they must follow is to do the bidding of Obama and do exactly what he instructs them to do. By doing so, Obama and his lackeys in the main stream media will continue to protect their non-actions thus give Obama another tool to use against the Repbls. in November. Make no mistake, Reid and the Dems in the Senate have become political stooges for America's first dictator.

    5. toledofan says:

      The Democrats have turned int othe Socialist Party of America; for them the Constitution has little meaning along with any traditions or actions that don't benefit them politically. What is not only ironic or astounding is the fact that these Senators, especially Reid, continue to draw a paycheck every month and will reap full benefits for the rest of their lives for doing so much damage to the country or so little to make it better. There is something really wrong with this picture.

    6. Karen says:

      If the Senate in its entirety doesnt do what they were elected to do….they don't deserve a paycheck, healthcare or retirement plan.

    7. West Texan says:

      As much as these self-described societal gurus throw money around, why the heck do they need a budget?

    8. Diane says:

      Obama doesn't DO budgets, and the economy is not his priority. Reid is Obama's puppet and simply follows orders.

      • JohnLeeHooker says:

        actually he DOES do budgets, they just get NO VOTES. his 2/11 budget proposal GOT NO VOTES IN THE SENATE, that's NO votes from repubs or dems: zip

        his proposal to the house last month GOT NOT VOTES

        like so many things he does, he just doe NOT DO THEM WELL

    9. Mary......WI says:

      Reid and his ilk should be recalled for failing to do the job for which they were elected._The expansion of unions will greatly contribute to bringing this country to her knees. In WI Gov Walker is being recalled because public sector unions are selfish and greedy. Walker and the Republican senate and representatives balanced a budget and WI is slowly suceeding in moving forward. None of these successes are reason for recalling an elected official. But Reid and his fellow progressives obviously don't care about this country or the American people. Typical liberals…..whine, moan, DO NOTHING, and lie to the American people promising them "the world" if they vote for them. Anyone read the book "Rise and Fall of the Third Riech" lately?

    10. HistoryMan says:

      This is a violation of the US Constitution. Why hasn't Reid been impeached?

    11. Red Baker says:

      Federal spending on a per-household basis is about $31,000 annually, but state and local spending average about $21,000 per household, so the total government spending per household I calculate is over $52,000. That is slightly higher than the median household income. To find the true burden of government we must count the cost of compliance with regulation compliance, which I believe is about $3 trillion, almost $2 trillion of which is federal. On the basis of households, that's $26,000. So the total cost of government is about $77,000 per household. The tail is wagging the dog, truly.

    12. I think its time for "Change" in the US Senate… Time for Harry Reid to lose his Majority leader status and flush out the other Democrats who refuse to do thier Elected job!

    13. West Texan says:

      PS: (Dem)agogue P + (O)bama P + Bureau(crat) P = Democrat P.

      Where P = socialist wannabe progressives.

      Such is Obama, Reid and minority leader Pelosi's wasteful mess.

      Time to pull the Beltway's flusher this November.

    14. chip says:

      I think Allen West pinpointed the problem in Congress. He said that 78 – 81 of them are communists. That explains Congress' lawlessness.

    15. Wes Evans says:

      It seems the Democrat party lead by Pres. Obama and Sen. Reid want to create a European model fascist welfare state. This is being done for the aggrandizement of their personal political power. The constitution and the wishes of the majority of the citizens be damned. Remember it was Sen. Reid who was a early promoter of Obama for president. A person is as a person does these are ambitious politicians of the fascist and or national socialist persuasion. It also appears that most of the Democrat party and much of the liberal establishment have bought into this agenda.

    16. Interesting article! Guess what guys, Harry Reid is no longer the guy in charge of the Senate. Granted they did a miserable job, and are terribly remiss at their budget making, but I don't see any improvement now either. What I do see? I forsee the Senate and Congress being disbanded by a re-elected Obama, and Obama declaring himself a dictator! God Forbid!~!!

    17. Thank you State of Nevada for sending Harry Reid back to Washington. What were you thinking???

    18. F.D O'Toole says:

      I don't think that Harry Reid or the President really care about the economy. They are entranced by and drawn to power, like the Golem in the Hobbit trilogy.

    19. Eric Nelson says:

      If the Senate does not follow the law to provie the American people a budget what recourse do we have?? I am not an Attorney but maybe a plausible defense for not paying my taxes and fines……..oh yeah that would put me in Obama's cabinet or a Czar position seems to me that is a prerequisite!!!!

    20. Paul Stone says:

      As a whole, it looks like the Senate no longer represents this country. The members just collect a check. It's another entitlement except that this one has power and goes through motions.

    21. Linda says:

      I don't get it. How do they get away with this? What ever happened to the proposal by the House that Senators not get paid if they didn't do their jobs? When I worked, if I didn't do my job, I would be fired!

    22. Frank says:

      The Senate's dereliction of duty to pass a budget is a mirror of America's dereliction to face all its severe political & financial problems. It will eventually kill us… but for now we just ignore or dismiss them. But the Day of Reckoning will soon arrive when we will have to face economic reality & there will then be much "gnashing of teeth" and finger-pointing of blame. Too bad the sheeple of America refuse to face the problems and elect decent politicians willing to bring in the needed return to Constitutional principles.

      • Clearhead says:

        Question , Frank: Would you please be kind enough to describe a "decent politician"? I can't even Google that one.

    23. Curt Krehbiel says:

      It seems obvious to me that Harry Reid is acting on direct orders from the president.

    24. BigD says:

      Does this senate do anything?

    25. stephen says:

      Why is it any business of the Senate to get involved in Union business?

    26. Jim Kirby says:

      It seems clear to me that the inaction of the Left on the budget is intentional and part of an overall plan to increase our debt to a level that is beyond our ability to pay….even the interest. No President, even a traditional Democrat, would be so bold to commit the 'fiscal atrocities' that Obama has.

    27. areopagitica says:

      This is the face of evil. I always thought he was the guy holding the pitchfork in that painting called American Gothic. Now I understand the pitchfork is his tail. Somebody needs to do us a big favor and shorten his lease, oops, I meant leash.

    28. LA Mike says:

      It is beyond my understanding how one person -Harry Reid- can stop ALL legislation. I realize he is the Senate majority leader, but how is it there is no alternative process to move legislation to the floor for a vote? Not a way to request a vote, not a way to force discussion, to force statements from the floor.

      All ofthe Republican's -Senate and House- should be screaming and shouting every day to every media outlet to put pressure on the senators who are riding the Reid Slave Ship. They are quiet, because it is respectful. They need to blow the roof off and clog the system with the legislation which cannot be ignored.

      The media is biased, but they cannot ignore an onslaught of information forever…. if the information is out there the forum for asking quesions will flourish. Seeking the answers is part of the process……….OUT !!

    29. Glen says:

      We all know who is pulling Harry Reid's strings. He isn't smart enough to do (or not do) on his own.

    30. Edmond Graminski says:

      The purpose for not passing a budget is to assure no spending cuts. Appropriations for the current year are provided by continuing resolutions and usually at the same rate as provided in the last budget. Consequently the Democrats are guaranteeing that spending will not be reduced as it surely would be if a budget were up for a vote.

    31. AJW says:

      Bottom Line – get rid of all the "instituation congressional dead wood"!

      What company would allow their financial people to continually not have a future years operating budget? They would be FIRED!

      As they are proposing issues like smaller govt, fed worker pay freeze, retiree buy-outs,…it is all political postering as they continually approve other spending programs w/out being fully funded.

      Solution – eliminate all of their positions as by not passing a future year Fed Budget (operating under a continual resolution) mandates the Fed Govt to operate at 80% of the prior years budget (or an automatic 20% reduction).

    32. Lisa Spear says:

      The heck with what the Senate is thinking! What in the name of George was the whole state of NEVADA thinking when they visited 6 more years of this party hack on the rest of us?!

    33. I say keep the rates low, but higher ed is not a right. If gov is going to grant laons it should do so as an investment. Only grant to those who will be studying a substantive subject matter where they will be an actual asset to society and higher potential of being able to pay the loan back. Any students receiving loans should also be required to maintain a min GPA in order to continue receiving disbursements.

    34. Keith White says:

      The Senate and the operation of the Senate has been a joke for the entire term of Harry Reid. This is one Man that needs recalled or impeached as he and Obama are in the full mode to destroy America. Kent Conrad said this was not the time to try to pass a budget because it is an election year?? What happened to working for the betterment of our country and not the betterment of OUR GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES? Also what happened to the budget for 2009,and 2011 as these were not election years. We need to clean house as the saying goes but that includes the Senate and the White House, MOST OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS NEED THE BE REPLACED BEFORE THE DESTROY AMERICA.

    35. ag8tor says:

      My question then would be "Why are they there if they're not going to do anything?" This group has shown that it's all about them and not the country. Senator Conrads remak that "it would be too difficult in an election year." is in itself disgusting. If ever there should be term limits it's now. So why is it any harder to do now than lasy year? Now they can go back and make more campaign promises that obviously they won't keep. This has to be the most reprehensible elected body ever assembled in the US. Besides being worthless they are obviously more concerned about themselves. Our best move is to vote these vermin out and send Reid and the other gutless Dems that survive back to the back row. You Dems must be very proud of your elected officials especially the way they"Take Charge" and do nothing!

    36. Looks like Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to undermine Obama. Perhaps he would rather see Brother Romney in the Whitehouse next year.

    37. allen says:

      A beautiful Story for TERM LIMITS , Have to rework retirement benefits for Congress. Congress gets 100 percent retirement after one Term ? What a joke. Are these people just thieves or what?

    38. allen says:

      When they get Aged like Harry and Nancy they have to retire no more of these old Fuddy Duddys, You can tell that thet are Brain Dead when some one makes a statement,"You have to Pass it before you know whats in it."? This is childish and weak brained. The only thing left now is to Pray that car goes over a cliff.

    39. VotingTexan says:

      Nevada, why did you elect Reid? What were you thinking?

    40. DON BECK says:

      METHINKS YOU ASSUME TO MUCH IF YOU ASSUME THE SENATE "THINKS"

    41. chatmandu002 says:

      The liberal/progressive media complain that Congress is not doing it's job without ever saying that it's the democrats in the Senate that are not doing what they required to do. The media never mentions that the republican House has passed a budget. Harry Reid has proven he is the most useless congress person this country has had in decades.

    42. KC-NM says:

      Possibly we Americans have the opportunity by voting correctly in November to change term limits and benefits to members of both houses. I suggest term limits where the congressional member can only hold office for a maximum of 5 years, with no life time salary or benefits. In other words, when the 5 years is up, it is back to work like the rest of us. Pay would be based on performance – so today Harry Reid would not receive a pay check since he has done nothing!

    43. John C. Davidson says:

      The Democrats do not want to announce their intent to the public regarding the budget. It is too toxic & will prove they are incomptent to the voters. No, they prefer making misguided statements blaming the opposition for the mess. Childish tactics at best.

    44. jaxboy says:

      Prince harry is a traitor and should be impeached. He is steadfastly working lockstep with barack chavez oblamer to destroy this country. I hope the upstanding people of Nevada who re-elected him all lose their jobs and Nevada has a shortfall in their unemployment fund. One of Romney's first acts as president should be to dissolve the NLRB, the EPA, TSA, and BATFE. He should start a vigorous investigation into ALL of oblamer's henchmen. A top priority should be to find ANYTHING to prosecute george soros, like was done to put Al Capone away. Capone was a saint compared to soros.

    45. Curt Krehbiel says:

      It seems obvious to me that Harry Reid is acting on direct orders from the president.

    46. Gary E Bocra says:

      Don't wast your time trying to guess what they are thinking or doing, really more of not doing in Washington. It's all smoke and mirrors, a big political shell game. Nothing will be accomplished, it's an election year. Each side will jockey into position for the next round (4 years). Hope it is not more of the same. I urge everyone no matter what political party you favor, to look at and research the issues, forget the candidate, they are just summer help as they say around the Belt way.

    47. Harry Reid is a low life democrat.

    48. Richard Madsen says:

      The lack of Leadership in the Senate and the irresponsiblity shown by Senator Reid is both sad and at the same time frightening to me. When the Senate Leadership and the President allows a break down in fudiciary responsibility as important as a Budget for the Country and then worse than that are allowed to get away with it shows that no one is doing their jobs either in the Senate or the House of Representatives. We have to get this in control or give up the Country to a group of idiots.

    49. Ken Marx says:

      The Democrat party is the worst union of the bunch.

      You keep using the term "leader" and "leadership" when discussing Harry Reid. He is NOT a leader, he's a boss. There's a difference. He acts like a union boss, by the way.

    50. God Bless Mitt Romney

    51. Tom says:

      I'd like to know why we are paying them? If I don't do my job, I'll be fired, and for sure not keep getting paid for nothing!!!!

    52. Dale McNamee says:

      This is what you get when Democrats run things… Thinking is non-existent with this bunch…

    53. belleboy says:

      I am having a very difficult time deciding who hates America more? Is it Obama, Reid, Schumer, or Pelosi? I give up; the fruit of the Democratic Party tree has been poisoned with hate, class (economic), and racial warfare.

    54. Bobbie says:

      Truth and consequences must be hitting Mr. Reid. He doesn't look so good? Stop protecting the unions and remove the overreach of government intrusion.

    55. JohnL2 says:

      So why is Harry Reid allowed to remain a US Senator when he obviously will not do the job and violate the constitution? This "do nothing" attitude in DC is a major factor in why the USA is in such terrible shape. Either do the job or get fired. The rest of us legal American citizens must live under this rule, why not the senate. Obama as a senator was another do nothing guy when he even bothered to show up for a vote!
      It is far past time for those elected "officials" in DC to be held accountable just as the rest of us!!

    56. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Saving jobs. If contracts can be renegotiated, that would do the same the same thing.

    57. pizztov says:

      Reid is thinking. He is thinking "Destroy America". He is doing a hell-of-a-job at it.

    58. Pete Houston says:

      Seems that the state of Nevada could do a recall notice since their senator is determined to run this country into the hole and certainly not doing the job that he is supposed to do. The Senate will not impeach him since they have a democratic control and the democrats in the senate continue to put him into the role as the majority leader. Seems that Nevada is also a corrupt state in that he must have control over the unions or do they have control over him to keep him in place. I will not spend another dime in Nevada until the rat is out of office. If enough people put the pressure on the unions in Nevada, this will not change. Unions should be banned or at least limited ot donating to political parties. If individual members want to contribute, that is fine. The people of Nevada need to speak up and have your true voice heard.

    59. Elaine Wilkerson says:

      Harry Reid is a jerk and I don't even begin to understand why he is still in Washington.
      Someone should have him impeached or thrown out of the Senate. He is not worthy
      to be a Senator.

    60. RennyG says:

      I was a VP of a major corporation and if we had a member of the chain of command that said, "I'm not going to do anything," that would have been his last words in that corporation!!! What are we running here, a kinder garden school?They even have rules you MUST follow. But not in our government!! Just do what you want!!!!! Why have we allowed our country to be destroyed and shamed like this???

    61. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Harry Reid is a complete waste of good air. His philosophy has been since 2010 to do nothing in the Senate while criticizing everything, absolutely everything, that the Republicans in the House have tried to do. By presiding over a do nothing Senate, no one can prevent Obama from doing what he wishes through his Executive Orders. Congress, due to Harry Reid, will not intervene in the power grab and the media sides with Reid and Obama. Reid and Obama hope they can regain total control over the government this year. That is what we got by not changing the leadership of the Senate in 2010 along with the House. If the American people don't make a major change this November, the nation that we have known for over 200 years could be doomed. The debt alone will take us down.

    62. This morning I received Harry Reids newsletter where he lauded his passing of the womens protection act and the tuition cost reduction thing.

      My reply, "That's all well and good but HOW ABOUT PASSING A BUDGET?"

      I'm still waiting for an answer.

    63. Joe Reimuller says:

      Between Reed and Holder: I guess that Reed is the worst traiitor.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×