Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) hasn’t produced a Senate budget for more than 1,000 days.
And there’s no remorse about it. Reid was recently quoted by The Hill as saying, “We don’t need to bring a budget to the floor this year—it’s done, we don’t need to do it.” By “it’s done” Reid was referring to the budget agreement last August. Of course, that WAS NOT a budget for 2013.
And what’s his excuse for the previous two years?
As if working off the same talking points—which they probably are—Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Budget Committee last week, “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term [budget] problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours,” at least acknowledging the House produced a budget.
These developments raise serious constitutional and political questions about Reid’s cavalier disregard for the budget process, which is supposed to be a joint exercise of the Congress and the administration.
Current law requires the president to submit a budget, which is usually released on the first Monday in February. Then both houses of Congress develop an outline with spending levels and, when they agree, they send it to the president for signing. Thus there is a balance of budget power.
However, with Reid taking the unprecedented step of thumbing his nose at the budget process, he is ceding much of the budgetary authority to the president.
It’s like the Senate decided to give up its constitutional prerogative to “advise and consent” with respect to presidential appointees.
No, wait, bad example. Reid’s Senate has done that also—by not contesting the president's recent recess appointments.
President Obama has decided to run for reelection against a “do nothing” Congress; but that pejorative only applies to the Senate. The irony is that it’s his own party running the Senate that is refusing to do even its most basic functions.