It has been 1,000 days since the Senate has produced a budget, and congressional Republicans are getting fed up.
While the Obama administration is fond of blaming its current woes on a “Do-Nothing Congress,” they are apt to forget that half of the current Congress is controlled by their own party. Today, the “Do-Nothing Democrats” in the Senate have yet again, as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote, set, "a new standard in dereliction of duty."
House speaker John Boehner’s office marked the occasion by releasing a mock promo trailer for the GOP response to the upcoming State of the Union address. Titled "1000 Days Without a Budget," the trailer is meant to remind citizens as they watch the address that "Since President Obama took office, 1.7 million fewer people have jobs, gas prices have doubled, and the health care law is making it harder for small businesses to hire and provide health insurance to their employees."
Citing the country’s recent credit downgrade, the trailer is rated “AA+ taxpayers strongly cautioned.” But though the trailer takes a mocking tone, the country's financial situation is no laughing matter for congressional Republicans.
“This is irresponsible and misguided,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a member of the House Budget Committee, “When confronted with a future of debt, doubt, and despair, our Democrat colleagues in the Senate have clearly taken a ‘what, me worry?’ attitude. It is time for full accountability and real responsibility.”
“Harry Reid needs to give up the Wednesday night bingo game and get back to work,” added Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, another House Budget Committee member.
Though the Senate has yet to produce a budget plan, there are some up on the Hill attempting to work around the Senate Budget Committee's roadblocks, promoting legislation that will reign in government spending. In December, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., introduced the "No Budget, No Pay" act, which would cut off congressional pay if Congress failed to pass a budget on time.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., a co-sponsor of the bill, called the Senate’s inaction on the budget “unconscionable,” adding that “If Congress can’t live up to its responsibilities and pass a budget they don’t deserve to be paid.”
In a joint statement, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R- Wis., and Ranking Senate Budget Committee member Jeff Sessions, R- Ala., expressed their disappointment that the Senate has “abandoned their official duty to prioritize Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars and tackle our nation’s most pressing economic challenges…[W]e sincerely hope 2012 will not mark the third consecutive year that Senate Democrats skip the budget process altogether.”
Kate Havard is a student at St. John’s College in Annapolis.