White House Lies to Public on Senate Budget Rules

There simply is no other way to explain the statements of White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew this morning on CNN’s State of the Union. Lew was asked by Candy Crawley about a recent statement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicating he would not be bringing a vote on the budget to the Senate floor.

CROWLEY: “I want to read for our viewers something that Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrat Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, who said, ‘We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done, we don’t need to do it.'”

LEW: “He’s not saying that they shouldn’t pass a budget. But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support. So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”

This is patently false.

You can’t filibuster the budget. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 stipulates that debate is automatically cut off after 50 hours of debate. At that point, a budget can be passed by a simple majority, 51 votes. Democrats currently hold 53 seats in the Senate. They can pass a budget on a simple party-line vote.

Lew, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, surely knows this. While the Obama Administration has regularly plumbed the depths of managerial incompetence, even they can’t be this incompetent.

That Lew prefaced this whopper with the tell-tale “let’s be honest” canard only highlights the cynical political maneuvering that is at the heart of the Administration.

So, let’s really be honest here. The latest Obama budget contains what virtually every proposed Democrat budget has for the past few decades; tax hikes, increased spending now and illusory budget “savings” some time in the ill-defined future. The Senate could pass Obama’s proposed budget within a couple weeks. The White House’s real problem is that Democrats don’t want to vote on his proposed budget.