Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dereliction of Duty

Dereliction of Duty
Congressional Democrats skip passing a budget—and hope no one notices.
The Weekly Standard
June 28, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 39

The 1974 Budget and Impoundment Act requires Congress to pass a budget resolution by May 15 of each year. Congress hasn’t done so yet in 2010. But that isn’t so unusual. Delays are common.

They are usually the result of interparty or intercameral disputes. But this year is different. Congressional Democrats aren’t simply delaying, they’re deliberately refusing to offer a budget until after the November elections. They’re simply choosing to ignore the law.

The politics are not complicated. Democratic leaders do not want to send members home to face their constituents after voting for a budget that would take the deficit to record levels. But the spending trajectory established by Barack Obama—and rapidly growing entitlements—leaves them little choice. The administration’s own proposal, offered in February, runs a deficit of 7-10 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product for the next nine-year budget window. That’s unsustainable and irresponsible. So rather than vote for such a grotesquely distended budget, Democrats reason, better to simply skip the vote and shrug off whatever criticism comes.

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