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Three Years Without A Budget!

Monday April 30th, 2012   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 8:57am PDT   •  

Just in case you missed it this past weekend, it has now been officially three years since the U.S. Senate acted to pass a budget for the United States federal government!

The Daily Caller’s Caroline May reports on the momentous occasion:

Thomas Jefferson is widely credited with coining an adage that makes fools of procrastinators: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” But where budgets are concerned, Congress has failed to execute the third U.S. president’s advice for three years.

April 29, 2009 was the last time the Senate passed a budget — three years ago today. Articulating a budget for the United States is among senators’ legally required duties.

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, told The Daily Caller that Senate Democrats’ obfuscation is to blame.

“This is a deliberate plan that the Democratic majority has executed for three years to avoid the responsibility of laying out a financial plan for America,” he said in an interview.


In the three years since the Senate last passed a budget, the federal government has spent $10.4 trillion and accumulated $4.5 trillion in debt, an amount that equals $13,000 in new debt for every individual American and $34,000 per family.

While Republicans lodge their protests, Senate Democrats claim the blueprint for 2013 was decided upon with the August debt ceiling compromise.

“We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said of the 2013 federal budget in February.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has indicated that he likely will not mark up a budget until after the November election, canceling a planned budget markup and vote last week.

Sessions said such delays are par for the course with this Congress, whose modus operandi in recent years has been last-minute patch-up jobs.

At least we now know what to expect. As for when to expect it, the CBO projects the U.S. will have burned through the most recent debt ceiling increase by the end of this year, as reported by Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler:

New figures from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that the government will hit its debt limit before the end of the year — though exactly how long before is still unclear.

CBO predicts that at the end of fiscal year 2013, the debt subject to the overall limit will be just shy of $16.8 trillion. But the debt limit itself stands at $16.4 trillion. The Treasury Department can create some breathing space for itself using a series of extraordinary measures — but those only go so far. So it’s still an open question how far into 2013 the current debt limit will take us — if it gets us there at all.

“There is a risk that the treasury will hit its $16.4 trillion debt limit before the next presidential inauguration,” emails Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi. “It will be close. I suspect the Treasury will have enough accounting wiggle room to get there, but much depends on whether the economy sticks close to script.”

And since the economy isn’t sticking close to the script, look for a crisis to begin right in the heat of the election season this year!

Featured Image:
Source: Thomas Clifford

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April 2012