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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Democrats Deny Fiscal Crisis By Voting Down Every Budget & Offering Nothing

Tony Pekins: Sen. Harry Reid"s (D-NV) new mantra: "When the world is crumbling around you, do nothing but blame everyone else.
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 26, 2011:
This morning, the Senate voted 79-18 to invoke cloture on the motion to concur with the House message to accompany S.990, the vehicle for the Patriot Act Extension with a further Senate amendment #347 (the Patriot Act language). Under a unanimous consent agreement, after cloture was invoked, the 30 hours of post-cloture time for the bill is being counted as if cloture had been invoked at 1 AM. The bill will extend 3 expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for 4 years: court orders for roving wiretaps, court orders for certain business records, and investigations of non-citizen “lone wolf” terrorists.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is working on an agreement to consider amendments to the bill. If one is reached, votes on amendments could occur later today.

Yesterday, the Senate unanimously rejected a motion to proceed to President Obama’s budget proposal (S. Con. Res. 18). Not a single senator voted for the president’s budget.  Motions to proceed to three Republican budgets were also defeated, but all received more votes than President Obama’s budget.
  • President Obama’s budget (S. Con. Res. 18): No senator voted for it. It lost 0-97.
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget (H. Con. Res. 34): 40-57, 40 more votes than Obama’s budget.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) budget (S. Con. Res. 21): 42-55, 42 more votes than Obama’s budget.
  • Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) budget (S. Con. Res. 20): 7-90, 7 more votes than Obama’s budget.
Not even one Democrat senator voted for any budget yesterday. They made clear they’re doubling down on their strategy to do absolutely nothing about the fiscal crisis our country faces.

Democrats spent weeks pushing for a Senate vote on the House-passed budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which proposed steps to put the country’s fiscal house back in order and reduce the deficit. In stark contrast, President Obama’s budget continued deficit spending far into the future. Meanwhile, majority Senate Democrats refused to even propose their own budget. Still, they pushed for a vote on the Ryan plan, which Democrat leaders admitted was almost entirely about political posturing for an election more than a year and a half down the road. In response, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called for a Senate vote on President Obama’s plan, which was unanimously rejected. Not one senator voted for the Obama plan.

However, as Leader McConnell pointed out this morning, what became clear last night as every single Democrat voted against all four budget proposals is that Democrats simply aren’t interested in doing anything to deviate from our unsustainable status quo of spending and debt. “Yesterday, here in the Senate, they rejected every single proposal we’ve seen on our nation’s fiscal future. They took a pass. They have chosen to ignore this crisis just like they ignored the last crisis. Three years ago, as the financial crisis approached, the Senior Senator from New York was holding press conferences trying to link the War in Iraq to what passed for an economic slowdown at the time, and the Majority Leader was postponing votes we all knew would fail so Democrats who were running for president could be here to vote on them. Today, in the face of a looming crisis we all admit is coming—they’re doing the same thing. This crisis is staring us right in the face. The Democrats themselves — from the President on down — say they see it. Yet, once again, they’re so focused on the next election they refuse to do anything to upset the status quo. They want to wait this out — as they hammer anybody who proposes a solution.”

In a must-read editorial today, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Lest voters forget, Democrats still run the Senate, or at least they do when they want to filibuster House Republican reform bills. When it comes to their core responsibility under the law of passing a budget resolution, they are A.W.O.L. Budget Chairman Kent Conrad can't get a bill through his own committee, much less onto the Senate floor. Mr. Conrad says he wants to ‘defer’ to the negotiations between the White House and Republicans. The truth is that his troops don't want to go on record voting for the tax increases that are the Democratic default for every fiscal problem. . . . Both parties have dug the current fiscal hole, but the Democratic record during their four recent years of running Congress is truly calamitous. . . . On their watch the national debt more than doubled and annual spending rose by a little under $1 trillion. In a mere four years. ‘It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage,’ Mr. Reid told the Los Angeles Times last Thursday. . . .Voters might conclude that it's foolish to keep electing Democratic Senators who won't do their job.”

Even The New York Times pointed out the absence of any Democrat plan today, writing, “It is still a long way to Election Day 2012, the underlying problem of a long-term fiscal imbalance remains as pressing as ever, and Democrats face divisions and message problems of their own. After the Senate vote on the House Republican Medicare plan, the Senate voted 97 to 0 on Wednesday to reject the budget put forward early this year by President Obama, reflecting a recognition by Democrats that they will have to do more than they initially proposed to rein in the expansion of the national debt and address the rising costs of Medicare and other entitlement programs. . . . While Mr. Obama has tried to set parameters for budget negotiations, his party has yet to settle on a plan for Medicare or the broader budget issues. And failure to address the nation’s fiscal problems aggressively could carry its own risk for Democrats, something former President Bill Clinton warned his party about Wednesday.”

As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) writes in an op-ed for the Miami Herald today, “Where is the House Democrat plan to save Medicare? Where is the Senate Democrat plan to save Medicare? Where is President Obama’s plan to save Medicare? They have no plan to save it, and they do not plan to offer one. They have decided that winning their next election is more important than saving Medicare for my mother and retirees like her. I have been in the Senate just long enough to be disgusted by the reality that Washington has too many people who think their personal political careers are more important than our country’s future.”

Republican Senate Leader McConnell summed up the problem here. “[T]he co-chair of the President’s debt commission may have put it best just six weeks ago. Speaking about the consequences of the fiscal path we’re on, Erskine Bowles said simply, ‘It’s the most predictable crisis in history.’ The most predictable crisis in history. That was a Democrat talking. And yet Democrats in the Senate don't even want to talk about it. . . . They rejected their own President’s budget.  They rejected three Republican budgets.  And they haven’t even bothered to offer a budget of their own. They’re just marking the time. So I think Democrats have lost the right to express concern about this crisis. Until they propose some solution of their own, they are just part of the problem.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US House, US Senate, Patriot Act, budget, budgets, no budget, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:05 PM - Post Link

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