Congress hasn’t passed a budget since 2009, the first year of President Obama’s presidency. The nation (despite Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad’s claims to the contrary) hasn’t had a budget for over 1,000 days now.
And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is saying that 2012 won’t see a budget passed by Congress either.
Senate Democratic leaders do not plan to propose a budget this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Friday, saying that they had already done so with the debt-ceiling agreement.
“We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” Reid said, according to The Hill.
Democrats have said that the agreement reached to raise the debt ceiling set spending for Fiscal Year 2012.
North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Budget Committee, has said he will mark up a budget resolution this year, per an agreement he made with Budget Committee ranking member and Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Technically, Conrad marking up a budget resolution, but not ever bringing it to the floor, per Reid’s comments, does not violate that agreement, conceded a Republican aide, but the staffer went on to blast Reid’s comment.
“What’s the point of marking up a budget if you’re not going to bring it to the floor for debate and vote?” fumed the Republican aide.
In past years, the decision by Democrats to pass on budgeting was a political calculation. Their spending has been obscenely profligate, even by the standards of a federal government that has become notorious for excess, and passing a budget would only put a magnifying glass to that inconvenient truth for Democrats.
So it’s not necessarily surprising that, in a presidential election year, Democrats would again not want to pass a budget. But it’s a strategy that’s more of a gamble this year than years past. Even the most partisan of Democrat voters have to be wondering why it is Congress won’t do its job. Budgeting and appropriating are central to Congress’ constitutional mandate. If Congress isn’t passing budgets (and no, the debt deal which created the super committee wasn’t a budget) then they aren’t doing their jobs.