Congress' budgeting ineptitude continues

May 26, 2011

Congress’ budgeting ineptitude never ceases to disappoint. Last year, lawmakers simply did not pass a budget even though they are required to do so by law.  Opting instead, lawmakers moved forward with spending bills without a long-term framework for tax and spending policies.This year, while there have been seemingly countless budget proposals, none have made significant progress as we move farther and farther past the April 15th deadline. Yesterday, two notable budget proposals came before the Senate.

The first, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget, has received a lot of attention for its plan to reform Medicare. Chairman Ryan’s plan had been approved by the House prior to coming to a vote in the Senate. The largely symbolic vote fell primarily along party lines, being voted down 57-40.

The second notable spending outline to appear before the Senate yesterday was the President’s original budget proposal released in February. The Senate voted unanimously against President’s plan, 97-0. The Hill reports it failed to gain support from the majority because the President had updated his original spending priorities in a speech at George Washington University in April.

Congress’ inability to even pass an annual spending blueprint is indicative of a larger problem. If lawmakers can’t agree on how to spend taxpayer money for the next year, how much confidence can we place in them to generate a substantive plan to rein in spending and control our long-term deficits and debt?


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