Flatliners: Senate Democrats and the Budget Process

Senate Democrats, flatlining America one budget at time

Think back to April 29, 2011. Was there anything special about that day? Yes, Prince William married Kate Middleton in a regal affair at Westminster Abbey, but there is something more important about that date for Americans. April 29th, in fact, marked two years since Senate Democrats last summoned the courage to pass a budget funding the Federal government. That’s two entire years of shirking their constitutionally mandated duty.

Let’s revisit the past few budget cycles. In 2009, Democrats were riding high and controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. They were able to pass a budget for fiscal year 2010 in a timely manner. It was certainly not a budget that conservatives celebrated, but, hey, let’s give the Democrats points for actually following the directive of the Constitution. Of course, the winds of change were blowing in 2009, courtesy of the tea party movement.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2010, time for Democrats (still controlling both houses of Congress) to unveil their budget for fiscal year 2011 . . . a budget we’ve still yet to see one year later and we are smack dab in the middle of said fiscal year. Oh yes, let’s not forget that 2010 was a key election cycle, one that was not favorable to Democrats. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, saw his seat as being very much in play and did what is becoming all-too-common for the left these days: he punted. Instead of making the tough decisions required of a leader, particularly during the trying economic times we faced last year and continue to face, Reid simply did nothing. He saw his reelection as being supremely more important than solving the country’s woes.

October 1, 2011 is the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year and it is anyone’s guess at this point if there will be a budget in place or what it will look like. The House, traditionally the leader in budget process, has presented a budget in the form of Path to Prosperity, the result of the fine work done by Rep. Paul Ryan. In theory, the Senate follows suit by presenting their own budget, then the two versions are reconciled before being passed by both chambers and presented to the President to be signed into law. That was until Senate Democrats decided to play chicken with the budget, not unlike the movie Flatliners.

In Flatliners, a group of medical students very dangerously and artificially simulate death in order to find out what happens on the other side. Their colleagues stand by and bring them back from the brink before something catastrophic happens. There are, of course, consequences to playing fast and loose with the laws of nature: Chaos of the mind and body. Why did the medical students take such a risk? Because they selfishly wanted to satisfy their curiosity rather than do what was right (i.e., leave the death stuff to higher pay grades).

We are now watching a Flatliners scenario play out on Capitol Hill. Instead of medical students, we have career politicians (of the Senate Democrat variety) defying the law of the land (the Constitution) in order to satisfy their own curiosity: What if we don’t present a budget and instead demagogue Paul Ryan’s plan? Will that cowardly scenario be enough to save our hides in the 2012 election cycle?

Senate Democrats are dangerously and artificially creating budget chaos and their own words bear this out:

“There’s no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion,” [Sen. Harry] Reid said in an interview Thursday. “It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.”

“To put other budgets out there is not the point,” [Sen. Charles] Schumer told reporters. “This issue will have staying power and be a defining issue for 2012.”

In short, Senate Democrats are willing to flat line the budget process in a selfish act of political self-preservation. There are very real consequences to their inaction: essential services can be curtailed or halted, our service members are threatened with non-payment and others face furloughs, making a weary American public even more skittish about the economy. Senate Democrats seem willing to push the American economy over the brink and leave us, the citizens they serve, to deal with the ensuing chaos.

Doing what is right is not above the pay grade of Senate Democrats. Join Smart Girl Politics Action in demanding that the Senate deliver a budget.

Go to http://sgpaction.com/whereisthebudget for more information.