Last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would be “foolish” to pass a budget. This year, he’s said he won’t bring one to the floor. That may be an eventuality he can longer prevent – and it has him fighting mad:
Newly appointed Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whom Reid recommended for the job, has decided that last summer’s deal on the debt ceiling and spending caps does not preclude the Senate from taking up other budget resolutions this year. The ruling could force vulnerable Democrats to cast tough votes that hurt them in November, a situation Reid and other leaders are eager to avoid as they work to protect their fragile majority…
Under this decision, any proposed budget is automatically placed on the Senate calendar. Reid can block those budgets from reaching the floor, but he’ll certainly look bad doing so. His goal is to prevent the Obama budget from coming up for a vote, since last year Obama’s budget went down to a resounding unanimous defeat in the Senate.
In other words, Obama’s proposed budget was all for show. Reid knows it. The Senate knows it. And they’re going to have to vote on it anyway. As the former CBO director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, puts it, Democrats “clearly do not want to vote on a budget. They rejected the president’s budget last year, and I can’t imagine they want to be in that position again. And they haven’t passed a budget in three years when these issues of spending and deficits are paramount.”
The MacDonough decision puts the pressure on Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), who asked MacDonough to rule on whether by law the Senate had to accept other budget resolutions this year.
Last night on Greta van Susteran’s “On the Record” on Fox News, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz directly contracted Harry Reid on the need for a budget:
The budget process is an expression of the party who drafted that budget’s values, and it’s a blueprint for how you’re going to structure the nation’s fiscal house …. I’m confident that the Senate will take up a budget …. I’d ask that you stipulate that the Senate should take up a budget, and I expect that they will … I’m confident the Senate will take up a budget … don’t put words in Senator Reid’s mouth and say that because a budget hasn’t come to the floor yet that it won’t.
This is chaos within the Democratic Party. And it’s all thanks to Harry Reid and President Obama. Meanwhile, the nation goes without a budget. We’re past 1,000 days. The wait continues.