The Quincy Journal caught up with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill over the weekend. Asked when the Senate might once more pass a budget, McCaskill, who is up for re-election in November, told the Journal: “The Senate passed a budget last August… we put it in the law for two years, the budget for two years, and actually ten years going forward, but legal spending caps for two years.” She went on to call the fact that the Senate hasn’t actually passed a budget in years a “talking point by the political right.”
McCaskill is referring to the Budget Control Act, passed to raise the debt ceiling last summer. In April, the Senate’s parliamentarian, appointed by Harry Reid, ruled that the law could not stop a Senator from introducing a budget resolution. Patrick Knudsen at the Heritage Foundation explained how the ruling confirms what the sober should know, that passing the Budget Control Act is not the same as passing a budget.
The last time the Senate passed a budget was, indeed, in April of 2009. That budget was described as a “spending blueprint” for the then newly-inaugurated president, who said the budget “builds on the steps we’ve taken over the last one hundred days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.” That budget passed on a largely party line vote. In May of 2011, the president’s budget failed 97-0 in the Senate. The president has a 2013 budget plan, but Senate Democrats hope to be able to avoid having to vote on it, for obvious reasons.
Republicans in the House, meanwhile, have been passing budgets since winning control of the chamber in 2010, but those don’t generally pass the laugh test either.
More Reason on the federal budget.