Round two of another fiscal crisis is already underway as debate over raising the nation's borrowing limit, better known as the debt ceiling, heats up. Majority leader Harry Reid has blatantly ignored the law by failing to introduce a budget for more than 1300 days. House Republicans on the other hand have fullfilled their duty to the law by introducing and passing a budget every year since Obama has been in office. As Byron York points out, Reid's actions could give Republicans some leverage when it comes to satisfy Presindent Obama's request to increased borrowing (and spending) ability.
The situation is deeply frustrating for many Republicans. Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has conducted a virtual crusade on the issue, loudly and consistently and unsuccessfully demanding that Reid obey the law and pass a budget. Now, with a fight over the debt ceiling approaching, Sessions wants to try something new.
"I think it should be a firm principle that we should not raise the debt ceiling until we have a plan on how the new borrowed money will be spent," Sessions told me Monday in a phone conversation from his home in Alabama. "If the government wants to borrow money so it can spend more, then the government ought to tell the Congress and the American people how they will spend it."
There are no specific proposals yet, but under this scenario Republicans would insist on a debt ceiling agreement that includes (among other things) a requirement that Congress pass a budget by a specific date. If that doesn't happen, there would be some sort of enforcement mechanism, perhaps an arrangement whereby the debt ceiling was lowered, or one in which Congress would have to muster a supermajority to raise it again.
I want to stress again that Reid has been ignoring the law by refusing to not only pass a budget in the Senate, but by failing to even introduce one.