Government Spending

To Avoid Another Debt-Limit Shutdown, Arrest Harry Reid!

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One of the main problems over virtually the entirety of Barack Obama's presidency has been the inability of the Senate, led all that time by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), to pass a budget.

Because of that incredible and unparalleled display of incompetence and/or unwillingness to, you know, lay out what the world's greatest deliberative body says the country should spend in a given year, all sorts of problems have formed. Including regular impasses about, you know, what the country should be spending.

This is not a an unalloyed bad thing from a spending point of view. The feds' reliance on temporary continuing resolutions to keep the government running has almost certainly resulted in lower spending overall. But for god's sake, this is no way to run a country. 

Reid's inability to pass—or truth be told, even produce a budget document for public discussion—isn't just pathetic, incompetent, and the very definition of passive-aggressive obstructionist. It's also illegal, as The Washington Examiner's Byron York points out:

If it is against the law for Congress not to pass a budget (and it is), and if Harry Reid is violating that law (and he is), then why can't something be done about it?  Why can't Reid be charged with something?  Or perhaps a lawsuit be brought?

Sadly, when it comes to throwing one of their own in jail for breaking the law, the feds somehow forgot to include an enforcement mechanism. York again:

The answer is the law requiring Congress to pass an annual budget, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, doesn't have an enforcement mechanism.  Lawmakers are required by law to pass a budget each year by April 15, but there's no provision to punish them, or even slightly inconvenience them, if they don't.  In Reid's case, the Senate last passed a budget in April 2009, 1,351 days ago as of Wednesday.

York suggests that apart from anything else coming down the pike over the next couple of months related to government spending, debt-limit deals, and more, Congress should pass a tougher law regarding its own inability to do what is arguably its first order of business: passing a freaking budget.

It would seem unnecessary — after all, it is a core constitutional responsibility of lawmakers — but Harry Reid has made a new, stronger law a real priority.

This may be the basis of a White House petition: Don't let Harry Reid leave the floor of the Senate until he completes at least this year's budget. And as a special bonus, let's shackle Reid's main enabler in this charade— former Sen. Kent Conrad, the budget committee chair who was routinely referred to as a budget whiz while failing for the last years of vaunted career to cobble together a document worth passing around – to the Majority Leader's back to create a sense of urgency.

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  1. I’d love to see somebody try to make a citizen’s arrest of Reid.

    1. Like Gomer Pyle after Barney Fife.

  2. Apparently there are enough morons and people who don’t give a crap in Nevada and North Dakota to keep re-electing these criminals.

    1. Unfortunately California refugee spillover to southern Nevada keeps the senates “Ed Gein” in power.

      sigh

  3. The feds’ reliance on temporary continuing resolutions to keep the government running has almost certainly resulted in lower spending overall.

    I think they like the 2009 baseline

    1. I don’t know if Reason has pointed this out, but federal spending in 2012 was lower than 2011, if I read the documents right.

      Not something to get excited about, but maybe worth mentioning.

  4. For the love of Christ. Here, Nick Gillespie. Why the Senate Hasn’t Passed a Budget.

    I get that this is some pretty arcane parliamentary procedural stuff, but that’s no excuse for accepting stale rightwing talking points as reality.

    Republican nerve knows no limit. All they do is cross their arms and pout and bitch that Democrats didn’t solve all the world’s problems in the three months they allegedly had 60 votes in the Senate in 2009, or that they won’t pass a budget, meanwhile behaving in by far the most obstructionist way any political party has in modern history. It’s kind of as if they don’t actually want Democrats to do what they’re complaining about them not doing.

    As for libertarians buying their transparent bullshit, that’s your issue to solve.

    1. Oooh good catch puffer…how come they can’t get democratic senatorial support for your world saving legislation?

      1. My question is what right do people whose only mission in life is to obstruct such legislation have to bitch about it not being passed?

        1. The same right that you possess that allows your moral preening regarding everything governmental. Good lord s o c k p u p p e t get over yourself…if your looking for logic and consistency from TEAM RED stop right now you’re going to be disappointed! If good government is your goal start with TEAM BLUE they’re equally as screwed up!

  5. The feds’ reliance on temporary continuing resolutions to keep the government running has almost certainly resulted in lower spending overall.

    sooo…

    What are we arguing about?

  6. I have created the petition. You’ll have to paste this URL together:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/
    force-congress-enact-budget-time/8xBJVGtv

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