A Budget Proposal without a Future

April 18, 2012

Today, Senator Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, submitted the Simpson-Bowles plan in the form of his budget for the committee’s consideration.  But there’s a catch.  Instead of moving forward with a normal committee mark-up process—which would require votes on amendments and eventually final passage—the Budget Committee is reportedly casting no votes.  Senator Conrad insists he is simply trying to build a consensus for a long-term plan.  However, unless the plan is actually voted on by the committee at some point in the future (and receives the necessary votes), the Senate budget mark-up is an exercise in kabuki theater.

Conrad, explained his rational: “This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor…I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.” During August’s debt deal, Conrad allegedly made a deal with his Republican counterpart on the Budget Committee to bring a budget to the committee for markup. Conrad is seemingly going against that deal.

So what is in Conrad’s proposal? $5.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, if you include cuts already put into law, which Conrad assumes. Deficit reduction is achieved by overhauling the current tax code to increase taxes and reforming certain entitlement programs. To read more about the plan, click here.

This leaves Americans with one conclusion: once again, Washington is playing politics with America’s fiscal future. Conrad has has said he will not allow his budget to go forward for a vote, so it appears the Senate is unlikely to move forward with a budget.

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