The Spectacle Blog

Gridlock Isn’t To Blame for Senate Budget Failures

By on 4.19.12 | 2:28PM

Yuval Levin nails it here:

Imagine if Paul Ryan had produced his budget proposal and put it before his committee, but then John Boehner killed it, insisting that the House should not pass a budget of any kind so that his members could be spared a difficult vote in an election year. Surely had any such thing happened it would have been treated as a monumental leadership crisis among House Republicans and a sign of gross dereliction and disorder.

But when Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad proposed holding a vote on a budget based on the Simpson-Bowles commission recommendations -- the first meaningful budget vote by Senate Democrats in three years -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promptly pulled out the rug from under him. The Senate will continue to flout its legal responsibility to pass a federal budget.

This is not a failure of bipartisanship, as Senate Democrats stopped passing budgets when their party still had control of the House. The president, in case you haven't noticed, is also a Democrat. After health care, Reid didn't want to force his members in competitive states to cast more tough votes. Any budget that could pass the Democratic-controlled Senate would presumably contain unsustainable deficits as far as the eye can see, broad-based tax increases or both. This is why President Obama's budget proposals can't get a single Democratic vote in either house of Congress. Democratic leaders, once bitten by Obamacare and cap and trade, don't want to do any pre-election governing.

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