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Why Senate Dems Haven’t Passed A Budget
29 Jan 2013

Why Senate Dems Haven’t Passed A Budget

Relatively simple explanation from the Washington Post, “#1) A budget isn’t necessary. … Budget resolutions don’t have the force of law. Appropriations bills are where spending is allocated. While the budget provides a long-term framework for spending and revenue, lawmakers don’t actually have to pass one. While the Senate is legally required to pass a budget, there is no penalty for not doing so. #2) Dems don’t want the blame.  … Budget deal-making has always been difficult and budgets almost never come in on time; increasing partisanship has made it even worse. By not introducing a budget, Democrats can keep their names off plans that detail high spending and high deficits. Meanwhile, they can attack House Republicans for their controversial budget plans. That was an especially attractive option for Democrats in the election years of 2010 and 2012. Since the 2010 election, Senate Democratic budgets have had little chance of survival in the House — the unpalatable legislation would be doomed anyway. #3) Dems couldn’t agree on one budget. Former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) repeatedly drafted budgets and attempted to bring them to the floor. But pressure from liberal Democrats on one side and conservative Democrats on the other made it a struggle. MAYBE NOW And it looks like, “Democrats have a new incentive to pass a budget — it’s a chance to reopen a debate over tax increases that Republicans insist ended with the “fiscal cliff” deal. A budget cannot be filibustered, and it opens the way to deficit reduction via reconciliation. If language is included in the budget resolution that directs a congressional committee to meet certain spending or tax targets, then the resulting bill is also protected from filibuster.” Standby.

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