"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Senate Republicans Forcing Votes On Budgets Today; Will Democrats Vote For Any?

May 16th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Today marks 1,113 days since majority Senate Democrats last passed a budget, over three years of fiscal irresponsibility. So today, Senate Republicans will force votes on a number of budget alternatives for them, even President Obama’s budget that would raise taxes, increase spending, and continue expanding the debt. Will Democrats vote for any budget today, even the one offered by the president of their own party?

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “We’ve got a nearly $16 trillion debt; we’re borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar we spend; entitlements are going broke; millions are out of work, and Democrats can’t even put a plan on paper for a vote? What are they doing over there? Isn’t anybody over there embarrassed by the fact that they haven’t offered a budget in three years? . . . As far as I can tell, their only plan is to take shots at our plans and hope nobody notices they not only don’t have one of their own. They’re so unserious they won’t even vote for a budget that was written by a President of their own party. It doesn’t get more irresponsible than that. . . . [I]t’s the responsibility of any majority party to put [a budget] together, to stand up and be counted. But since Democrats refuse to do their duty by the nation, Republicans will attempt to do it for them.”

The Washington Free Beacon explains, “The Democratic-led Senate has not formally proposed a federal budget resolution in more than three years, and is not expected to offer one Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) have made explicitly clear that they have no intention of doing so before the November election. Senate Republicans plan to offer four GOP budgets—authored by Sens. Mike Lee (R., Utah); Rand Paul (R., Ky.); Pat Toomey (R., Pa.); and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.)—as well as the president’s budget.”

What do Democrats have to say for themselves? Not much, as The Washington Times’ Emily Miller writes today: “[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s] go-to excuse this year has been that the Budget Control Act, which set lower spending levels in exchange for raising the debt ceiling last summer, was good enough to replace an actual budget. The Senate parliamentarian disagreed, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, insisted that the ruling by the Senate’s procedural referee meant Democrats couldn’t keep the five proposed budgets from being discussed on the floor.”

Politico reports that rank-and-file Senate Democrats aren’t particularly enamored with this excuse. “Senate Democrats are ripping into Republican budget plans but still refusing to offer one themselves — a move that’s frustrating a handful of centrists in their own party. . . . Democratic leaders have defiantly refused to lay out their own vision for how to deal with federal debt and spending, arguing that last summer’s debt-ceiling deal essentially serves as an actual budget. While a budget resolution is non-binding, they say, the Budget Control Act was signed into law. But a few centrists in the 53-member Democratic conference expressed frustration with their party’s budget inaction. ‘Anything we can do to force the Senate to deal with the debt is important to do, and the sooner the better,’ Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, told POLITICO. ‘I don’t think [Democrats] will offer their own budget and I’m disappointed in that.’ Freshman Sen. Joe Manchin has often said he would have been “impeached” if he failed to produce a budget as West Virginia governor, though he conceded there are differences between the state and Senate budget processes. ‘Sure I have a problem with [failing to offer a budget]. As a former governor, my responsibility was to put a budget forward and balance it, so anyone who comes from the executive mindset has a problem with that. I don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican,’ Manchin said in an interview. . . . Another Democrat . . . lamented that the budget process has broken down and is in need of a major overhaul. ‘The budget process is just not working around here. We’ve had three years with President Obama where we’re not able to get a budget resolution passed,’ Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told POLITICO.

And yet, as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough put it this morning, “The Democrats have decided in the midst of a financial meltdown they’re going to do absolutely nothing…” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) previously said, “It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage,” and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last year, “To put other budgets out there is not the point.

Related:

Rasmussen Reports:

51% Trust Romney’s Economic Judgment More Than Obama’s

North Carolina: Romney 51%, Obama 43%

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