Budget Previewby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2013-03-12
McCONNELL. Mr. President, as we know, President Obama missed this
year's legal deadline to submit a budget to Congress, just like he has
nearly every year of his presidency. But this year it is even worse--we
now know he does not even plan to submit a budget until after the House
and the Senate have acted to pass one.
That has never happened in the more than 90 years that have gone by since the modern budgeting process was established in the 1920s. Somehow, Presidents managed to submit budgets on time in the middle of World War II, during the Great Depression--but not today? There is simply no excuse.
Rather than helping lead Congress toward a reasonable outcome, it appears the President is happy to drop a bomb on the congressional budget process instead by releasing his budget plan after the House and Senate have acted--presumably so he can campaign against Republicans if the process fails as he hopes. Let's hope he does not trot out that tired political playbook again.
The President should send over his budget now--not next week or next month, but today--so both sides can consider it at a time when it might be helpful, rather than destructive, to the process.
And speaking of serious delays, for 4 years my constituents in Kentucky and Americans across the country have been asking Senate Democrats a simple question: ``Where's the budget?'' Most families put one together. They want to know what Democrats who run the Senate have planned.
But for 4 years, Senate Democrats have ignored these concerns. Year after year, they have neglected one of their most important legislative responsibilities.
Evidently that is about to change. Senate Democrats are now pledging to finally--finally--produce a budget. I will be interested to see what they put forward.
I hope Senate Democrats take this exercise seriously and propose real spending reforms that can put our country on a stronger, more sustainable fiscal path, reforms that can control spending and lead to robust private-sector growth and job creation. We will see.
What about Republicans? Well, Republicans lead the House, and they have proposed budgets every year, right on schedule--budgets that would finally put our country on a path to growth and job creation, and that would put our creaky entitlement programs on a sound fiscal footing so they are around when people need them.
Today, House Republicans will unveil this year's budget blueprint. If the past is any indication, the reforms it contains would jump-start our economy, help more Americans join the middle class, and begin to tackle the debt that threatens all of our futures because Republicans understand we need to grow the economy, not the government. What's more, it would get us back to a balanced budget within just a few short years.
Call me a skeptic, but there is little chance the budget my Senate Democrat friends put forward will balance--either today, 10 years from today, or ever. And I doubt it will contain much in the way of spending reform either. We will probably just get more of what we have come to expect from them the past few years: lots of budget gimmickry, tons of wasteful spending, and even more tax hikes. That type of budget won't grow the economy or shrink the debt.
But here is the thing. The budgeting process is a great way for both parties to outline their priorities for the country, and that is something Senate Democrats have refused to do until now.
So, if they want to put forward a budget that allows Medicare to go bankrupt, that hikes up taxes on the families and small businesses that can least afford them, and that proposes a future of massive deficits without end--if that is really how they want to define themselves for the American people--then let the battle of ideas begin.
But we need to see their budget first, so it is time to end the years of delays and put those ideas on the table. And it is well past time for the President to do the same--not after Congress acts, but before.
Republicans have managed to play by the rules every year and produce serious budgets for our country. I hope Democrats are finally ready to get to work to do the same.
I yield the floor.