Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dereliction of duty - 1,086 days and counting

Since our current budget problems and debt haven't caused enough angst and uncertainty, the Senate is going to add to the problem by NOT passing a budget again this year. 

As The Hill reports:

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) bowed to pressure from fellow Democrats on Tuesday and postponed a committee vote on a 2013 budget resolution, most likely until after the November elections.

Conrad on Wednesday will begin a committee markup of a resolution based on the Bowles-Simpson deficit recommendations, but told reporters there is no date scheduled on which the markup vote would occur.

“This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor,” he said. “I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”
This is the "wrong time"?!?  The wrong time for whom? 

Apparently for Senators who have an election this year.  I guess getting re-elected is more important than doing your job in the first place.  Besides, if they pass a budget, all those Senators will be on the record and we certainly can't have that, now can we?  As the Free Beacon reports:

Many suspect that Conrad’s plan was derailed at the last minute by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and other Senate Democrats, who did not wish to cast political difficult votes on health care, energy, taxes, and government waste just months before the 2012 election.

Imagine that!

As of today, it's 1,086 days (and counting) since the Senate passed a budget.  In case you're wondering, that's just nine days short of three years.

The Congressional Budget Act requires both houses of Congress to pass a budget - and the deadline is April 15th.  In fact, the Senate's own website details the law and dates.  Does April 15th sound familiar?  Can you imagine what would happen if we told the government that now was "wrong time" to pay our taxes because we had Christmas coming up that we needed to plan for?

No wonder people want to pass a 28th Amendment.

This is a clear dereliction of duty.  They have failed to uphold their responsibilities under a law that they, themselves, have passed.  They have ignored their duty to represent us by providing an authorized budget to enable and limit the spending by the federal government. 

No wonder our debt is over $15 Trillion and our deficit for 2012 is projected to be over $1 Trillion.  If you don't have a budget to dictate what you can spend, you can spend whatever you want.  And our Congress and President are doing just that.

But. you ask, if they're going to begin committee markup, aren't they doing their jobs?

Not exactly.  As Keith Hennessey explains, it's not a markup if you don't vote:

I imagine Chairman Conrad will receive favorable press coverage for proposing the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson recommendations. If he doesn’t use his power as Chairman to force a vote, however, then his proposal is little more than an interesting debate topic.

Unless I’m missing something Chairman Conrad is not marking up a budget resolution tomorrow. He is instead convening the committee for a discussion. He will lay down the Bowles-Simpson numbers as his own and everyone will talk. Then he will adjourn the meeting tomorrow without any votes, without any date to reconvene, without any deadline or forcing action for private bipartisan negotiations he hopes will then occur but for which he has low expectations of success.

It’s not a markup if you don’t vote.
Hennessey also agrees with me on the dereliction of duty: 

"The job of a Member of Congress is to vote on legislation, not to talk about legislation. Talk is sometimes helpful but If Members of Congress are not voting they’re not doing their job."
The worst part about all of this is not the failure to have a budget for the massive federal government.  It's not even the fact that our Senator are in violation of law and derelict. 

I think the worst part is that most of the nation hasn't got a clue and cares more about who made the cut on "American Idol" and whether or not people can get a knockoff of Angelina Jolie's engagement ring.

No comments:

Google Analytics Alternative