Like many conservatives, we've been pounding this drum for weeks, and now even liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has detected the drumbeat. After reviewing the facts, Milbank isn't particularly impressed with Harry Reid's Senate:
In a sense, the Senate has been in a pro-forma session all year. Beyond a few ho-hum pieces of legislation — patent reform! FAA reauthorization! — senators could have taken a five-month holiday and the republic would be none the worse. Although there’s general agreement that the most pressing issue facing the federal government is its runaway finances, the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 762 days, a new standard for dereliction of duty.
“They put forward as many budgets today as they did all year,” Don Stewart, an aide to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, quipped after Tuesday’s under-a-minute session. Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, Congress has failed to pass a budget resolution only five times, and until last year, a budget resolution always passed at least one chamber.
Now, for the first time in a decade, the Senate Budget Committee isn’t even considering a budget. Two weeks ago, Chairman Kent Conrad said he would “defer” action on the budget, which was due April 15, to see what comes of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden.
In recent days, the process has taken on a new absurdity. Democrats brought up the budget passed by House Republicans for the sole purpose of voting it down. Senate Republicans retaliated by forcing a vote on President Obama’s budget — and it was defeated, 97 to 0. (The House, refusing to cede all irrationality to the Senate, held a just-for-show vote to defeat a no-strings-attached increase in the debt limit.)
Milbank goes on to dutifully accuse Paul Ryan's plan of violating "the Medicare promise to future generations." Unfortunately, math will break that promise within the next dozen years or so -- which is the entire point of reform. Sigh. Nonetheless, kudos to Milbank for highlight this glaring and ongoing failure. His description of Democrats' actions -- or lack thereof -- is apt: "A new standard for dereliction of duty." Indeed.
Although it may have pained Milbank to chastise his own party, certain tableaus are sufficiently pitiful to make any man turn on his own. Behold, the United States Senate at "work," yesterday: