Weekly Columns

Majority Democrats Play Hide-and-Seek with the Congressional Budget

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Washington, June 23, 2010 | comments
Imagine your family doesn’t set a budget this year. You have no idea how much you are going to spend, so you really don’t know whether you and your family are going to have enough money to cover all your expenses. Well, you decide that doesn’t matter because you are going to just put it on a credit card and take on more debt. How much debt? There’s really no telling because you are just going to spend as you go along with no set plan.

Obviously, this is not a sound financial strategy. However, this is exactly what our nation is doing because the Democratic Leadership in Congress has made a decision not to submit a budget for the year because they say it’s too difficult for them to do so.

I’ve seen some crazy things since I’ve been in Congress, but even I was amazed that the Democratic leadership would not even submit a budget this year.

In 2006, then House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said that passing a budget was the most basic function of governing. The same year, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, John Spratt said, “If you can’t pass a budget, you can’t govern.” And Nancy Pelosi said in 2002 that failing to pass a budget hurts children.

This means – by their own words and by their own standard – Democrats are unwilling to govern at the most basic level. However, they are more than willing to push the hard work off to our country’s next generation.

“It isn't possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we've considered the bipartisan commission's deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December," Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. That’s not leadership, that’s punting the problem for political expediency.
Failure to pass a budget in the House of Representatives is something that hasn’t happened since the enactment of the 1974 Budget Act. It’s a dubious distinction for Speaker Pelosi to be leading the first Congress in 35 years without a budget.

Not only will there be no budget, the Democratic leadership is talking about tax increases – hikes on the middle class that break President Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year. (On a side note, I have discussed in the past how the health care bill has tax provisions that already broke this pledge.)

The Washington Post reported today: “Tax cuts that benefit the middle class should not be ‘totally sacrosanct’ as policymakers try to plug the nation's yawning budget gap, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Monday, acknowledging that it would be difficult to reduce long-term deficits without breaking President Obama's pledge to protect families earning less than $250,000 a year.”
What would this mean? A return to the marriage penalty; higher tax bills for couples with children; higher marginal tax rates taking more money out of your paycheck – just to name a few.

In all the time I have travelled across this district, I have never had a single person approach me and say that our nation is suffering because our taxes are too low. I have had a lot of people tell me that government spends too much and it’s about time we got a handle on this runaway spending.

I agree.
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