It has been more than three years since the U.S. Senate last passed a budget. The last time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fulfilled his legal responsibility, Conan was still on NBC, Tea Parties hadn’t come together, and the iPad hadn’t yet been introduced.
There is no excuse for this. The Senate needs only 51 votes to pass a budget. Democrats have had well over that for President Obama’s entire term, yet they refuse to even offer a plan.
The Senate must pass a budget if we are going to halt Washington’s disastrous habit of overspending, overborrowing and overtaxing our fragile economy. While liberals sit on the sidelines saying “no,” conservatives are offering solutions.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and others have put credible and thoughtful plans on the table. But I am happy to report that a member of the Senate has put forward a plan that directly confronts all of the major economic challenges our nation faces.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced a budget resolution that mirrors the bold and thorough reforms The Heritage Foundation first proposed in our comprehensive program, “Saving the American Dream.”
Lee’s plan is a strong blueprint for restraining and ultimately reducing our nation’s massive debt, cutting Washington’s out-of-control spending and above all restoring our nation’s economic prosperity. It’s the only way we can make sure future generations aren’t saddled with debt that keeps them from having the same opportunity of achieving the American Dream.
The reaction from those who want to continue the status quo is predictable. They will demagogue Sen. Lee and other conservatives of wanting to throw grandma over the cliff. How blind -- and irresponsible. If we fail to act, then spending under programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will balloon unchecked. Eventually, the nation will effectively go bankrupt. The truth is that the president’s health reform law magnified the financial problem while already ending Medicare as we know it.
Instead of making promises Congress has no chance of keeping even with massive tax hikes, Social Security and Medicare should provide seniors with a reasonable, affordable and predicable benefit that protects seniors from the threat of living in poverty.
Under the Lee budget, Social Security becomes true insurance that supplements income for retirees who need it. For the more affluent, benefits will be quickly restored in cases of sudden reversals.