Matt HealeyWednesday,13 March 2013

The Snap:

The U.S. has operated without a formal budget for several years now. The main stumbling block has been the Senate, which has not been able to pass a budget, while the House has been able to pass a budget. I suspect the reason is a combination of arcane rules in the Senate and a lack of willpower among the Senate leaders.

The Download:

Budgets are very difficult to pass. They force legislators to prioritize spending which by extension forces choices on national priorities. So in a hyper political environment, budgets are the most political pieces of legislation. This makes passage in both chambers of Congress very difficult. In general it is easier to pass a budget in the House than in the Senate. Regardless, the Democrats could and should develop and pass a budget even if it has no chance of passing the House. They should do this for no other reason than to blunt the attacks from the GOP.

The question is with the increased focus in both houses, can we get to a budget that can pass both? The first shot in this debate has been fired by Paul Ryan. He has proposed a budget that assumes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This is apparently an attempt to “compromise.” Paul — I do not think that word means what you think it means. Personally, I have a very hard time taking anything that Ryan says seriously. His acceptance speech for the VP nomination was breathtakingly dishonest according to the Washington Post. But the Post is widely considered to be a liberal Democrat news source, so take a look at what Fox News had to say about the speech: “to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech“. If this is the direction the “debate” is going, then I suspect there will not be a budget passed.

Hat Tips

Economist on Senate Budget RulesFox News on Ryan Speech , Washington Post on Ryan Speech, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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