A massive increase in the national debt would be an inevitable part of this year’s budget proposal, given that Democrats have enacted some of the most expensive legislation in history over the past few months. To solve this problem, Democrats have decided to simply avoid proposing any budget at all. Their intention is to avoid accusations of fiscal irresponsibility during a recession.
In the meantime, the federal government will continue to operate on last year’s budget, while handing out proverbial "IOU's" to agencies that need more money to pay for increased expenditures.
It's a sly move from a party that's eager to avoid any notion of spending beyond their means on the eve of a mid-term election. The issue is even more fraught with dishonesty given the rhetoric Democrats have used to justify their actions.
Specifically, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said passing a budget "isn't possible," without the input from Obama’s appointed deficit commission, which the President assembled earlier this year. That commission isn’t scheduled to give a report until December; annual budgets are usually passed out of Committee in April and approved shortly after that.
By waiting until December, Hoyer has conveniently scheduled the budget to be passed after the November elections, which are looking worse and worse for his fellow Democrats. That allows Democrats to tout their fiscal responsibility while avoiding any hard votes on the matter. Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, called it “bizzarely dishonest.”
"It makes it appear that the whole point of the deficit commission from day one was to hide from what Congress is really doing, and let Congressmen run in the November election claiming to be for some imaginary budget restraint that they’re not actually ready to vote for," said Norquist.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson, a co-chair of the budget commission, recently called the commission’s work a "suicide mission," saying that no agreement among the bipartisan members was even remotely possible. That statement only adds to the perception that the commission is nothing but an excuse for Obama to implement higher taxes.
John Hart is the communications director for Sen. Tom Coburn, who serves on the deficit reduction commission as well. He gave further indication that the commission’s work was largely futile.
"While Dr. Coburn is honored to serve on the President’s debt commission, he’s always maintained we already have a standing debt commission called the United States Congress," said Hart. "It’s ludicrous to suggest Congress can’t pass a budget until this commission finishes its work."
Rep. Jeb Henserling, another member of the commission, was similarly disheartened.
"When I accepted the appointment to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform I said I had high hopes and low expectations for the Commission," said Henserling. "Majority Leader Hoyer’s comments have lowered both my hopes and my expectations."
Norquist suggested other reasons for Hoyer giving an excuse about not being able to pass a budget, such as Hoyer or Pelosi inability to control their members’ earmark requests in time. Unfortunately, he said, passing budget at this point would be a perfect exhibition of the Democrats true fiscal irresponsibility in the wake of a recession.
Sen. Judd Gregg, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, reiterated that point.
"The majority simply doesn’t want to highlight to the American people how much unpaid-for spending is planned for the next ten years, and how staggering our deficits will be as a result," said Gregg.