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Could one of you clever people help me out?

I have an instinctive dislike of the "Haestert Rule", aka "the majority of the majority" concept, the idea that Boehner is only going to move bills that the majority of his party supports.

The reason for my dislike is that Boehner is Speaker of the House, not the Majority Leader. He is a Constitutional officer who has a duty to do the people's business, not focus solely on this party's interests and PR problems.

Here's what I need help with: a lot of Republicans say that Harry Reid is also trampling the constitution because the Senate has not passed a budget.

Is there anything to that? If you have the time, I'm hoping for a substantive response, not just "well, Republicans suck more".

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Comment Preferences

  •  A "budget resolution" is not a spending bill. (8+ / 0-)

    It's an outline or a directive as to how much to spend and priorities.

    The Senate HAS passed a budget.  They have to.  Whether it's a continuing resolution, or the Budget Control Act of 2011, when the Senate passes spending bills, that's a budget.

    This is all an exercise in semantics.

    The perniciousness of a lot of Republican talking lies is that while they are usually only a few words, it takes quite a lot of words and explanations to debunk them, and there's always a small element of truth to them that makes the lie that much more effective.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:29:27 AM PST

    •  It is not "semantics." (4+ / 0-)

      It is difference recognized in federal law, specifically the Congressional Budget Control Act of 1974, passed by both Houses and signed into law by the President.

      That is the act by which reconciliation -- the process that allowed the final version of the  Affordable Care Act to become law -- is allowed.  So, the 1974 Act is not "semantics."  

      A Budget Resolution which requires an overall framework for government spending is not the same as individual appropriations bills.  

      •  federal law does not govern the Senate (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDealer, Nowhere Man, Smoh

        No matter how many times you pretend it does.

        •  The Senate is not bound by federal law?????? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, Neuroptimalian

          Really?  Is that your argument?  

          I understand this law has no SANCTIONS, so nothing happens if the Senate refuses to comply.  That's a legitimate -- and accurate -- position.

          But are you really arguing that this Senate is not in any way bound by LAWS enacted by prior Congresses and signed into law by prior Presidents?

          Is the Senate, in its hiring/firing of Senate staff, bound by the Civil Rights Act of 1964?  Or can it make its own rules there, too?

          •  yep. Senate procedures are not bound by law. (0+ / 0-)

            They have a higher, independent authority.

            I don't know how Senate authorizes staff hiring. The budget for the staff would need to be passed as a normal appropriations act. The Senate can't pass a rule on its own to hire someone, since it doesn't have the independent budget to pay them. So I wouldn't think they'd be able to use the rules to get around the Civil Rights Act.

            •  Well, I am happy that the Senate does not agree (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MrAnon, Adam B, VClib, Neuroptimalian

              with you.

              The Senate does recognize that the 1974 Act applies to the Senate.  See here and here and here.

              •  please read Appendix C from your link (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Smoh
                JURISDICTION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE
                BUDGET

                A. From Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate
                (e)(1) Committee on the Budget, to which committee shall be referred all concurrent resolutions on the budget (as defined in section 3(a)(4) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974) and all other matters required to be referred to that committee under titles III and IV of that Act, and messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating thereto.

                (2) Such committee shall have the duty—
                (A) to report the matters required to be reported by it under titles III and IV of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974;
                ....

                Senate Rules.
                •  Which is a recognition that they are supposed (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Adam B, VClib, Neuroptimalian

                  to comply with the 1974 Act.  

                  •  it's the Senate Rule that enables the act (0+ / 0-)

                    for the current Senate session. Not passing the budget resolution is a violation of Senate Rules. That's true.

                    (Although, if a majority of the Senate votes down the budget resolution, are they violating Senate rules, or making a new rule?)

                    •  That's not what it says. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib, Neuroptimalian

                      It doesn't say "required by the Senate Rule adopting the Act."

                      It says "required by the 1974 Act."

                      Here's another example.  Last fall, the President wanted Congress to enact the McConnell procedure.   That would be a procedure whereby the President unilaterally could lift the debt ceiling, and then the Congress would have to have a supermajority to stop it from happening.  That would have been a change in Senate and House procedure enacted into law.  The President was proposing the same kind of law, that changed the procedures of Congress.  He was not  proposing something that would have to be adopted each year by the Senate and House to have any effect.  

                      The reason this is "meaningless" is because there is no statement of what the alternative is, if Congress does not comply with the law.  If there had been such a statement -- i.e., spending is frozen at a certain level, for example -- that would be binding unless another bill passed both Houses and was signed into law.  

                      The Senate clearly recognizes that they are SUPPOSED to pass a Budget Resolution under the law.  However, the Senate also realizes that, as the law is written, the only sanction is that it is a political tool for the opposition to use -- they can say, correctly, that the Senate has not complied with the law.  

                      Which is EXACTLY  why Senator Schumer said this morning on MTP that the Senate WILL pass a budget this year.  

                      •  you're quoting the Rule itself (0+ / 0-)

                        That section of the Senate Rule enables the requirements of the 1974 act as part of Senate Rules. Without that section and without that reference, the 1974 act requirements would have no meaning.

                        The McConnell procedure delegates borrowing authority to the President. Raising the debt ceiling would not technically be "unilateral" because it would be a delegated power. It has nothing to do with Senate Rules.

                        No, Schumer is passing the budget resolution because of political embarrassment. That is the only real enforcement mechanism of Senate rules.

                        That budget resolution is still meaningless. Like the Ryan plan, a few people will ridicule is and then it will be ignored.

      •  Laws cannot make our representatives do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh

        what they don't want. For that matter, directives are largely unenforceable. That's why we hire people and pay them to do specific jobs and carry out certain obligations and, when they don't perform, we're supposed to fire them. That's why we have Congressional elections every two years. That the denizens of Capitol Hill have managed to bribe the electorate with goods and grants and threats against their enemies to keep themselves in office for a very long time is a shame.
        How do they do it? Republicans put up sham candidates in primaries to make it look like the voters have a choice and Democrats accommodate them by not proposing viable candidates in "secure" districts and discouraging anyone from running against their favored incumbents.
        Since the advent of universal suffrage (1971), a lot of effort has gone into manipulating the electorate to keep the good old boys in charge.
        There's a reason why Obama wants to continue organizing grassroots to promote a populist agenda. The Democratic party organizations on the state level have proved unhelpful.
        "Throw the bumbs out." Threatening to throw them out is not enough.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:10:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, Neuroptimalian

          So, if a Representative makes it clear that he will  hire only white males, he can do that?  After all, that's only a matter of federal law -- it's not in the Constitution, it's a matter of federal civil rights laws.  

          It's not accurate to take the position that federal laws don't apply to Congress.  

          What IS the case here is that this particular law does not contain a SANCTION if the Congress chooses not to comply.  So, there is no enforcement mechanism if the Senate chooses not to comply with the law.  

          But that's different from saying that the law doesn't apply to them.    

  •  nope, it's BS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Overseas, Smoh

    The "budget" they're talking about is an early blueprint for the planned actual budget bills. It's like an agenda for a meeting or an outline for a high-school paper. It has nothing to do with the constitution.

    That budget blueprint also has nothing to do with the actual spending and taxing bills.

    •  What is the Senate constitutionally required to do (0+ / 0-)

      and have they done it under Reid?

      •  They have passed continuing resolutions which (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDealer, Smoh, mumtaznepal, greengemini

        accomplish the very same thing and, yes, they have done it under Reid because it has to be done each year unless the resolution covers more than one year. They are simply as valid as a "budget".
        The darn republicans are just parsing words as they usually do, not quite lying but not telling the truth either to try to make the Democrats look just awful.
        Boehner's position doesn't make him tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; his politics gets in the way of that.

        "We have cast our lot with something bigger than ourselves" - President Obama, July 30, 2010

        by Overseas on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:49:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  nothing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDealer, Smoh

        There's nothing in the constitution about the "budget resolution."

        It's a procedural rule that the Senate voted for itself like the filibuster  It's not a constitutional requirement.

        The constitution just says that the congress has the power to spend money. It doesn't dictate how congress chooses to pass those bills, other than the 50% majority. Everything else is conventions and rules, not the constitution.

      •  FYI - the word "budget" appears nowhere in the (0+ / 0-)

        Constitution.  That document is more about assigning authority rather than requiring specific actions.  Article 1 deals with Congress.  It says spending bills originate in the House and the Senate can amend them.  In practice, the House and the Senate are supposed to agree on the budget resolution. The process for getting there in the Act of '74 but our system is not so rigid that there's only one way to accomplish something.  

        A word must be said about the divided Congress we have today.  Each house is controlled by a different party.  This is a fairly unusual situation.  The last time it happened was 30 years ago and the parties were more inclined to cooperate at that time.

        The refusal to compromise and the distance between the party positions is what makes a budget resolution impossible today.  Even if the Senate passed its own version, reconciling it with the House won't be possible.

        "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

        by leftreborn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:51:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not "BS." It's the Congressional Budget (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neuroptimalian

      Act of 1974, as recognized by the Senate itself.

      The Senate has chosen not to pass a Budget Resolution in accordance with that Act.  There are no sanctions written into the Act if Congress fails to comply with the Act.  

      Here's the CRS historical information on the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

      •  the Senate sets its own rules (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDealer

        The rules of the Senate are not governed by past congressional acts.

        •  You are just wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neuroptimalian

          The Congressional Budget Control Act of 1974 is not a "procedural rule of the Senate."  

          It is a law -- passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Nixon on July 12, 1974.

          I understand you do not think it is necessary for Congress to comply with the letter of that law.   Certainly you can make the argument that the Congress should not comply with the law, since there are no sanctions written into the law if Congress does not comply.

          But it is just wrong to characterize it as a "Senate Rule."  That is just factually wrong.  

          •  Constitution: Article I, Section 5 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Smoh
            Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,
            punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
            Laws do not determine the Senate Rules. The Senate determines its own rules. It's explicit in the constitution.

            (Aren't you supposed to be a lawyer?)

            •  There is a difference between (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MrAnon, Neuroptimalian

              a law and a Senate Rule, and the Constitution.  That's basic civics.  

              The 1974 Congressional Budget Act is a law.  The Senate has chosen not to COMPLY with that law.  The law does not contain a sanction, but it is LAW nonetheless.  

              Really, you DON'T understand the difference between a law -- passed by both Houses and signed by the Senate -- and a Senate procedural rule, that has to be passed by the Senate alone?  You really DON'T see the difference????

              •  jurisdiction (0+ / 0-)

                Look the term up, please.

                Laws do not have jurisdiction over House and Senate procedures.

                •  The problem you have is that you believe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian

                  that the 1974 Budget Control Act is "Senate Procedure."  

                  As long as you continue to base your comments on that clearly wrong premise, there is no reasoning with you.  

                  We can talk when  you understand the difference between a bill  passed by both Houses and signed into law by the  President, and a Senate procedural rule.  

                •  And the Senate disagrees with you, by the way. (0+ / 0-)

                  On its own website, it recognizes the Congressional Budget Control Act of 1974 as law.  See here.

                  •  the Senate adopts those procedures as a rule (0+ / 0-)

                    at the beginning of each congress. That is a choice that they make.

                    •  You have no idea what you are talking about (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Neuroptimalian

                      First, the Senate does not "adopt" the 1974 Budget Control Act each year.  

                      Second, even if that were technically correct, then they adopted the 1974 Budget Control Act each year, since they have things like the Congressional Budget Office and the Senate Budget Committee, all of which were put in place by the 1974 Act.  

                      If they didn't "adopt" the 1974 law this year, somebody had better tell the Senate Budget Committee, or tell the Senate to stop sending its bills to the CBO.  Because according to you, those are part of those "Senate Rules" that the Senate has to specifically adopt, or they don't apply.

                      Or do you have some rule where the Senate for the last three years adopted only PART of the 1974 law -- like the CBO and the Senate Budget Committee -- and not other parts?

                      •  Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate (0+ / 0-)

                        Yes it does. (Technically each Congress, not each year.)

                        Read appendix C from your link above.

                        •  Did you read that? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Neuroptimalian

                          It says "required to be reported by it under titles III and IV of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974"

                          It doesn't say "required to be reported under the Senate Rule ADOPTING the 1974 Budget Control Act."  It says required under the 1974 Budget Control Act.   That's an express statement that the 1974 Act applies to the Senate -- otherwise, it couldn't "require" anything of the Senate.  

                          The fact that the Senate states that the 1974 Act "requires" them to do something is a statement that the 1974 Act applies to the Senate.  

                          •  Your argument is fundamentally flawed. (0+ / 0-)

                            The Republicans charge that the Democratic Senate hasn't passed a budget resolution in 1362 days.

                            You support their argument by saying that Harry Reed chose to operate on individual appropriations bills 'rather than a budget framework.'  

                            Individual appropriations bills rather than a budget framework is the way Congress operates because it's the law.  The procedure has nothing to do with Harry Reid and it's a nontroversy because he is acting within the law.  As this article explains, the top line discretionary number is about the only thing in the budget resolution Congress would look at. Even that is flexible with the ability of Congress to appropriate "off the budget."

                            Saying the Democratic Senate hasn't passed a budget is objectionable because Republicans drop it like a turd on the living room carpet and then walk away.  It stinks.  

                            You can see from the comments in this thread that there's plenty of room for misunderstanding about what the budget is.  The average American is going to assume gross negligence.  

                            This is deliberately misleading in the same way that Fox misleads its audience.  

                            "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

                            by leftreborn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:36:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Apparently, the fact that coffeetalk ... (0+ / 0-)

              IS a lawyer, thus educated and experienced in interpreting complicated matters such as these, and you are not, is the reason you're not understanding the intricacies of what she's tried many times to explain.

              "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

              by Neuroptimalian on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:49:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Here's The Economist's explanation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, NWTerriD, mumtaznepal

    The link is here:

    " It is true that the Senate can pass a budget resolution with a simple majority vote. But for that budget resolution to take effect, it must have either the cooperation of the house, or at least 60 votes in the Senate....So yes, the Senate could pass a budget resolution, but without the cooperation of the house or 60 votes, that resolution would not take effect; it would be an empty gesture.
    I think they should at least try to do it, simply to demonstrate good faith. Make the GOP filibuster it or use differences between the House and Senate version to illustrate the differences in priorities. I think the Senate is so dysfunctional--and this is bipartisan, though obviously much worse on the Republican side--that it can't even see how they are convincing the American people that the Congress serves no function. That is dangerous in a democratic republic.  
  •  It's the Congressional budget act of 1974 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Jon Says, NewDealer, Kickemout, MrAnon

    Here is what is supposed to happen.  

    It begins with the President submitting a proposed budget by the first Monday in February (a deadline he has said he will not meet this year).

    Then the House passes a Budget Resolution, then the Senate passes a Budget Resolution.  This is not a spending bill, but an outline for overall spending during the next fiscal year.  

    Since the Republicans have taken the House, they have passed  Budget Resolution -- typically, the Ryan Budget.

    The last time the Senate passed a Budget Resolution was in 2009.  They had passed Budget Resolutions before that.

    The Senate has not passed a Budget Resolution in accordance with the 1974 Act since 2009 because Senator Reid has not brought one to the floor.  He has decided that operating on these individual appropriations bills, rather than pursuant to an overall budget framework (as required by the 1974 Act) is sufficient.  The Senate has voted down the President's proposed budget (it got no votes at all last time).  But the Senate has not passed a  Budget Resolution of its own (and technically, it can be passed with Democrats only, since it cannot be filibustered on the Senate floor).

    Congress has instead operated by passing individual appropriations bills for spending, but with no overall budget framework in place in the form of a Budget Resolution.  The last continuing resolution expires on March 27.  The 1974 Act requires that a new Budget Resolution be in place by April 15.

    There is, however, no sanction in place in the Act if Congress does not meet that deadline.

    •  each Senate sets its own rules (0+ / 0-)

      The 1974 act is meaningless in this context.

      •  So the ACA is not law? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrAnon

        Because it is the 1974 Congressional Budget Act that allows the reconciliation process.  And if reconciliation is not law, neither is the ACA.

        The fact is that the 1974 Act was passed by both Houses and signed into law by the President.  It's not a Senate Rule.  That' is passed by the Senate alone.  

        And laws enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President DO survive from Congress to Congress.  

        •  jurisdiction (0+ / 0-)

          Federal law has no jurisdiction over Senate rules.

          Reconciliation is a Senate rule that each Senate passes at the beginning of the term. They can change it at any time without needing approval of the House or the President.

          The ACA is a law. Derp. I realize you're trying an argument by absurdity, but you failed. If there's a part of the ACA that tries to bind Senate procedure, that part is meaningless (unless the Senate independently chooses to follow it.) If there's a part of the ACA that tries to regulate Martian wheat harvests, it's also meaningless.

          Congress can pass all sorts of laws outside their jurisdiction. They just have no affect.

          •  You are wrong again. (0+ / 0-)

            Reconciliation is permitted because of the 1974 Budget Control Act.

            See this Harvard Law Review Article:

            Since the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 the Congress has attempted to bind
            itself to pass a yearly budget each year.  This has for the most part been successful, at  least to the extent that Congress has produced budgets in all but four years in the past thirty-three: FYs 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007.  However simply laying out budgetary caps
            was not enough, Congress wanted to create a mechanism whereby legislative changes could be made to match the fiscal goals of the budget.  However r to make the changes  required for the budget every year, Congress needed to create a fast-tracked,  tightly controlled legislative superhighway:  the budget reconciliation process.  

            The budget reconciliation process is an optional process supplementary to the  yearly federal budget process .  The budget committees in both the House and Senate
            meet and send reconciliation instructions to individual issue-area committees to reduce or  increases spending and/or revenues by set amounts.  These committees then submit substantive legislation from their respective issue-areas to meet these targets.  This legislation then gets fast-tracked in a budget reconciliation bill through their respective chambers.

        •  In essence its a meaningless law because (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftreborn

          the current Senate cannot be bound by rules created by a previous Senate as ferg says).    Your summary of the process above I think is reasonably accurate though I would point out that the Ryan Budget plan was widely panned as basically political grandstanding, long on rhetoric and short on substance and specifics.    

          In particular it was short of the specifics of what the House wanted to cut.   All of this uproar being generated by Republicans over this issue seems to me designed try and force the Democrats into naming specific cuts thereby letting the House off the hook.   Whoever goes first in naming cuts obviously becomes the target of all those who will oppose them.

           As you say its the House that must originate bills having to do with spending.

          •  Criticism of the House-passed Budget (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jon Says, MrAnon

            Resolution is completely appropriate.  The House technically complied with the 1974 law, but it is completely appropriate to criticize the product they produced in accordance with that law.  

            However, this is not a "meaningless law" because "it does not bind this Senate."  This Senate is certainly "bound" by prior bills passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by the President -- unless and until another bill, passed by both Houses and signed into law -- supersedes it.

            The 1974 Act is "meaningless" to the extent that there are no sanctions for failure to comply.  That is completely true, as I have said several times.

            So it is completely correct to say that the Senate has failed to comply with the 1974 law.  It is also completely correct to say that there is no sanction for the failure to comply with the law.

            •  Yes and no. Suppose sanctions had been (0+ / 0-)

              incorporated?  What would they be and how would they be enforced and who would they be enforced by?    Certainly not the Executive branch, nor by the house, nor by the judicial branch.  Even if there were sanctions they would mean nothing because no one could enforce them.

              •  It depends what they are. (0+ / 0-)

                For example, if the sanctions had been something like Congress isn't paid, that would probably be unconstitutional under the 27th Amendment.  

                But, if the sanctions had been something like, the status quo (absent a Budget Resolution of some kind) is a freeze on discretionary spending for the next year, that would be binding unless the House and Senate passed an appropriations bill to supersede it -- sort of like the Sequestration.   Sort of like the President wanted Congress to pass legislation altering the procedure by which the debt ceiling is lifted -- he talked last fall about enacting the "McConnell procedure"  whereby the president can lift the debt ceiling and Congress has to have a supermajority vote to stop him.  That would be a legal change to Senate and House procedures enacted into law.  So, the 1974 Act could have put in some "status quo" -- something written into the law that will happen each year absent passing a Budget Resolution.   That would be law unless and until a subsequent Congress enacts another bill superseding it.  

                One Congress can provide that "x" is the law of the land, including in spending, and that survives through subsequent Congresses unless another bill gets through both houses and gets signed into law.  

    •  He has decided that operating on these individual (0+ / 0-)

      appropriations bills, rather than pursuant to an overall budget framework (as required by the 1974 Act) is sufficient.

      And how exactly do you know that this is what Harry Reid decided?  Is this your biased opinion or is there some proof you provide to back this statement?

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:00:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because he said so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kickemout

        See here, where he and Sen. Schumer said the debt limit deal and individual appropriations bills were all they were going to do for FY 2013.

        See also here.  See also  here :

        Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would be "foolish" for Democrats to propose their own federal budget for 2012, despite continued attacks from Republicans that the party is ducking its responsibility to put forward a solution to the nation's deficit problems.

        "There's no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion," Reid said in an interview Thursday. "It would be  foolish for us to do a budget at this stage."

        In fact, Sen. Reid sought a ruling from the Senate Parliamentarian that the debt ceiling deal precluded the Senate from doing a budget resolution.  He lost.
        •  Not good enough --- (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not going to let you skate by with telling the part of the story you like while leaving out the rest.  

          You didn't account for 2010 and here's a link that colors in the part of 2011 that you'd rather ignore.  This article is dated a month before the LA Times story you provided.  

          You keep saying that Harry Reed chose short-term appropriations as if he made a unilateral autocratic decision.  As the NY Times story explains, there was no possibility of traditional budget making policy when the GOP wouldn't agree to anything more than temporary measures.  In fact, the GOP couldn't even agree internally.  There's no excuse for not remembering any of this because the GOP is still doing the same damn thing today.  

          "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

          by leftreborn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:14:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What your link says (0+ / 0-)

            is exactly what I have been saying.  The story discusses the continuing resolution that funded the government -- the "appropriations bill" that is discussed. They sometimes call it a "budget bill," but distinguish it from the House vote on the Ryan plan -- which was the House passing a Budget Resolution.  What was being passed in that story was not a Budget Resolution in accordance with the 1974 act.  

            Politifact does a good job of explaining it.  They also explained it here.

            As Politifact says, the Budget Resolution is often a very partisan affair.  But it cannot be filibustered.  And it's true that the House passed a Budget Resolution (based on the Ryan plan) and the Senate did not.

            I am happy that Senator Schumer confirmed this morning on MTP that the Democrats in the Senate WILL pass a Budget Resolution this spring.  I think the country is entitled to see the priorities of both political parties, and having members of Congress cast a public vote for  position is one of the best ways of doing that.  

  •  This is one of those topics... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, Smoh

    which simply cannot be discussed openly and honestly on DK for some reason. From the front pager on down all you will get is obfuscation on this issue. It would be interesting to read about what Harry Reid's motivations and justifications are for not allowing the senate to pass a budget. But the discussion cannot get that far because the community will not come to terms with the fact that a budget is a real thing that that is required by law, has been done in the past, but hasn't been done since 2009.

    There has been some talk that the Rs may refuse to raise he debt ceiling unless the Senate passes a budget. So this thing that so many Kossacks think doesn't actually exist may intrude upon this carefully crafted reality.

  •  Budget is a fancy word for plan. During the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, NewDealer

    Cold War, much fun was made of the Soviets for having five year and ten year plans. On is tempted to speculate that was because the U.S. was able to have an annual plan. Never mind that updating it took a lot of time and what was in the plans rarely got into appropriations bills. Appropriating money is like writing a check.  It means that money is actually being spent.
    The focus on the budget had the advantage of keeping the press looking there, while the real spending was orchestrated somewhere else.
    The balanced budget, which Al Gore championed, was dishonest from the start. The object was to expose Republicans to scorn and pretend that the budget actually meant something. Though anyone that's paid attention to state and local government knows that budget numbers can be fudged with debt and unrealistic expectations, but the money gets spent in those "consent agenda items" designed to more things along without any question by people who hardly ever bother to read the paperwork. Then at the end of the fiscal year, which never comes while the budget is being put together, the accounts are supposed to be reconciled, but hardly anyone ever looks at the reports from the auditors, either. Which doesn't actually much matter because, as we discovered in the Enron debacle, auditors just take the numbers the organization hands them to certify that they add up, or not.

    The cons, being primarily imitators and habit prone folk took over the balanced budget mantra to hoist Democrats with their own petard. However, Democrats have refused to play along. Budgets are obviously not necessary since the federal government has been operating without one for nigh on to three years. Appropriating this year what was spent last year, plus a little more, has gotten to be routine. I'm sure administrators like it because it makes planning ahead a lot easier. Just because Congress doesn't have a plan doesn't mean the Agencies and Departments aren't prepared.  Apparently, the planning for the ACA was quite robust since it seems to be being implemented on time. Republicans counted on delaying effective dates to give them a window in which the whole thing could be repealed. It didn't work out.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 09:59:10 AM PST

  •  What has failing to adopt a budget cost us? (0+ / 0-)

    Has the absence of an annual congressional debate about the overall direction and scope of federal spending caused the two sides become even more polarized? Would we be facing this debt ceiling crisis if congress has been debating, compromising and reconciling in the context of a federal budget every year?

    Congresscritters may be loath to go on record and constrain themselves with a federal budget. But the debt ceiling fight is a crude and dangerous mechanism for settling diferences of opinion about federal spending priorities.

  •  The Senate's failure to pass a budget is nothing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mumtaznepal, greengemini

    more than a Republican talking point.

    The Constitution gives authority to Congress to appropriate funds for spending with the President's signature.  It's not up to one house of Congress or one party to pass a budget.

    The Budget Act of '74 outlines a process for Congress to follow each year to complete its work on a budget by April 15. Again, it's not the responsibility of one house or one party.
    Also, for clarification, the budgets Congress passes are non-binding resolutions.  Separate measures must be passed to appropriate actual funds for spending.

    In a sense, asking about the Senate's failure to pass a budget is the wrong question.  It's a way for Republicans to limit a conversation by telling half a story.  It's a lie by omission.  To be objective and complete, Politifact rates it as true and other Kossacks may agree.  A narrative that includes partial truths and excludes important facts isn't the truth where I come from.

    The last time the Congress passed a traditional budget was April 29, 2009.  In 2010, Congress didn't follow the process laid out by the Budget Act of '74 because the President had convened a bipartisan commission to work on comprehensive fiscal reform.  Its members included 6 representatives from the House and 6 from the Senate.  I'd have to check but I don't think either the House or the Senate passed a budget resolution that year in anticipation of a plan from the committee.  It didn't produce its recommendations until after the midterm elections.  The committee's plan was shelved when the members who wrote it failed to agree on sending to the full Congress for a hearing.

    Continuing into 2011 and 2012, the narrative didn't change.  Partisan agenda stood in the way of accomplishment including the budget.  

    Omitting details allows Republicans to substitute a story they like for the real story.  Over time the public accepts the false narrative and fictitious details creep in to the place of what was omitted.  This is how modern propaganda works.

    "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

    by leftreborn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:33:09 AM PST

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