The Senate last passed a budget 1,106 days ago—that would be almost three years—and now the White House is telling Democrats not to bother this year either. Harry Reid will be pleased, because last week the Majority Leader said he had no plans to do so.
Asked yesterday about the lack of a Senate budget, spokesman Jay Carney said that "Well, I don't have an opinion to express on how the Senate does its business with regards to this issue." ABC's Jack Tapper pressed, incredulously, "The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget?"
Mr. Carney reiterated that President Obama has "no opinion," only that he "looks forward to the Senate acting on the policy initiatives contained within his budget." But Mr. Carney refused to say the Senate should act by even proposing a budget, let alone, you know, actually passing one.
The running tally of days without a budget has become a Republican talking point, but there's a lesson here about liberal governance and the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. That law, a Democratic creation, mandates that both chambers by April submit a formal budget blueprint that shows how the government will meet its obligations over the coming year, lays out a general fiscal framework for entitlements and sets priorities for spending and taxes. The law was supposed to increase the incentives for fiscal discipline. But now that House Republicans want to take it seriously, Democrats want to pretend it doesn't exist.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
They will evade a law just to avoid having to commit themselves to putting their fiscal priorities on the table. And Obama just doesn't care.