Floor Vote; No Budget for Third Year
Senate Democratic leaders on Friday said they do not intend to bring a fiscal 2013 budget up for a floor vote.
"We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year -- it's done, we don't need to do it," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters on Friday.
Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) argued that the debt-limit agreement in August directs spending for the next year and said Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has already asked the heads of the subcommittees to write their appropriations bills for fiscal 2013.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) has said he would probably mark up a budget resolution for 2013, but Reid recently told the Hill he didn't expect any floor action on a measure produced by the panel.
Republicans have attacked Democrats for failing to bring a budget to the floor. Last week, they marked the 1,000th day since Democrats have passed a budget, accusing the majority of shirking its duty while the deficit soars.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is working on his own budget plan, tweeted Friday that Senate Democrats "confirm they’ve given up on budgeting. What a disgrace. Reid's refusal to budget is a recipe for crisis."
Ryan has said that Democrats should be embarrassed to claim the debt deal as their blueprint because it "fell far, far short of solving this country’s fiscal problems."
“It’s been more than 1,000 days since Senate Democrats have offered a budget plan to the American people," Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the budget committee, said in a statement. “Now, once again, the Senate’s ineffectual Democrat majority balks at the task of leadership.”
Sessions argued Senate Democrats don’t want to spell out a long-term budget plan for fear of public scrutiny.
"[Reid] obviously continues in his belief that it would be politically foolish for his members to go on record in support of any long-term vision," he said. "But by refusing to lay out a budget plan for public examination -- a fact no one can deny -- the Democrat Senate has forfeited the high privilege to lead this chamber"...
Conrad's panel has released an analysis asserting that the deal reached in August to raise the debt ceiling was, for all intents and purposes, a budget.
The Budget Control Act included caps on discretionary spending and examined entitlement programs and revenue, the analysis said. “Republican rhetoric aside, Congress did pass a budget,” the fact sheet said.
"Either they don't know what they did or they are misrepresenting what we all did," Conrad said.
Sessions argued that the spending caps under the debt-limit agreement "crafted behind closed doors and rushed to passage at the 11th hour under threat of panic, do not even approach the definition of the budget process that the law requires."
"They are not in any way or any sense a Senate Democrat budget plan," Sessions said. "There is no argument that can be made that these caps are a long-term vision for this country -- not on taxes, not on entitlements, not on spending, not on debt."
A budget resolution serves as a blueprint for spending and isn't signed by the president; it provides a broad outline for the Appropriations Committee for spending choices. The panel is required to follow the recommendations, although they tend to stick close to the overall discretionary spending figure.
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Editor's Note: And we shouldn't hold our collective breaths waiting for the Obama Executive Branch to call Reid on this blatant violation of the law...Do you really think the Attorney General would do anything about Democrats or Progressives in Congress literally breaking the law?...
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