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Republican Senators: No Appropriations Bills Until Senate Passes Budget

2:19 PM, Jul 13, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, spoke today on the Senate floor about his plan to raise points of order against all appropriations bills until the Senate passes a budget. Here's an excerpt of Sessions's remarks explaining the procedure:

One of these enforcement mechanisms is a prohibition against the consideration of appropriations bills in the absence of a budget. This is the essence of good government: you should not spend taxpayer dollars without a plan to efficiently allocate those dollars in a way that maximizes effectiveness and minimizes waste.

This point of order is contained in section 303(c) of the Congressional Budget Act. Once that point of order is raised, the legislation in question cannot move forward unless a majority of Senators vote to waive the requirement that taxpayer money should not be appropriated without a budget plan.

This is what the law dictates. This is our responsibility as legislators. And this is the duty that the Democrat-led Senate has refused to fulfill for the last 805 days. Senate Democrats have failed to adopt a budget in more than two years and, this year, have refused to even produce a budget for public review.

Sessions also said he will introduce legislation to raise the waive threshold from a simple majority to 60 votes. The idea behind the move, according to one Senate source, is to point out the "absurdity" of voting on spending bills without having the spending framework a budget provides. 

The first appropriations bill Sessions and his fellow Republicans will attempt to raise this issue with is the military constructions bill, which will begin to be debated this afternoon. The GOP hopes to highlight that the budget proposal being drafted by Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) with his fellow Democrats includes significant cuts to defense.

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