It’s Congress’ Responsibility to Produce a Budget

These are two items are posted on Facebook by Congressman Paul Ryan as “Paul Ryan’s Notes”:

Tax Day and NO Congressional Budget
5:11 PM

When Republicans faltered on budgeting in the past, Democratic criticism was severe, including a press release headline by then-Minority Leader Pelosi that read: “Republicans’ Inability to Pass a Budget Hurts America’s Children.” Today the echo of their words is deafening.

While Americans scramble to file their Federal tax returns, the Democratic Congress is sliding past its deadline for the most fundamental obligation of governing: adopting a Federal budget by April 15. Nevertheless, the President and Democratic Congress have managed to enact nearly $1.8 trillion in additional spending (over 10 years) since January 2009, and to raise Americans’ taxes by $670 billion over the same period (see further discussion below). This week, press accounts hinted House Democratic leaders might choose not to bring a budget to the floor at all – which would be an unprecedented failure to govern, at the worst possible time.

Here are some key points about the potential lack of a congressional budget.


– The Nation stands at the brink of an historic fiscal dilemma. Spending, deficits, and debt are running out of control. Financial experts are warning that the United States’ AAA bond rating might be in jeopardy, and the U.S. economy could face an inexorable and permanent decline – sacrificing the prosperity of future generations.

– Instead of using February and March to tackle the budget, the President and Democratic Congress exploited the budget process to force through their government takeover of the health care sector. They used a token $1-billion reconciliation instruction from last year’s budget resolution to leverage a $2.6-trillion spending increase when fully implemented, coupled with the largest tax increase in history.

This essay continues at

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House GOP to Speaker Pelosi: It’s Congress’ Responsibility to Produce a Budget
6:33 PM

April 15, 2010

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

As Americans scramble to meet today’s tax filing deadline, the Democratic Congress will miss its own deadline for one of the most basic acts of governing: passing a budget resolution. Worse, recent press reports have indicated that the House of Representatives may not consider a budget resolution this year. If true, this would be the first time since the passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that the House would fail to craft a budget. We believe that this would set a terrible precedent, and we strongly urge you to reject these reports and encourage the House to consider a budget resolution later this year.

While we may disagree on a number of issues, one issue we can all agree on is that our nation’s long-term fiscal outlook is unsustainable. The gap between revenues and expenditures, already large by historical standards, is only going to become larger over time. The longer Congress waits to deal with this fiscal imbalance, the more difficult the choices become to solve this problem. The time to start making decisions about our long term deficit is not some time in the distant future, but now.

The purpose of the Congressional budget is to create enforceable parameters within which Congress can consider legislation dealing with spending and revenue. In the absence of a budget, there would be virtually no procedural enforcement mechanism to constrain spending in either the House or the Senate. Especially in an election year, this would be an open invitation for Congress to increase spending to unprecedented levels.

The letter continues at

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