Michael Warren at the Weekly Standard provides this nice catch of some serious ignorance on the part of a major candidate for Iowa’s open Senate seat. Apparently, Bruce Braley doesn’t know much about the job he’s seeking in attempting to fill the seat Tom Harkin’s retirement leaves open in the 2014 election. When asked by a local TV news reporter why the Democratic-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in almost four years, Braley insisted that the filibuster prevented Democrats like Harkin from producing one:
“How is that possible? One word,” Braley replied. “The filibuster.”
Braley blamed Senate Republicans for holding up business by imposing a 60-vote supermajority on moving forward on the debate. “[It’s] incredibly frustrating to everyone in the House, Democrat and Republican,” he said. “And I know it’s incredibly frustrating to Senator Harkin.”
Braley then goes on to lecture at length about the need for filibuster reform, but he’s ignorant of one important fact: filibusters don’t apply to budgetary bills. Budgets don’t need anything more than a simple majority to pass. In fact, that fact got intense national attention during the final stage of the ObamaCare debate, when the Senate used the budget mechanism to pass a House bill that bypassed the opportunity for Republicans to filibuster, in a process known as ironically known as “reconciliation.”
Actually, the one word that applies here is “obstructionism,” only by the majority. The Senate hasn’t had its budgets filibustered — it hasn’t even proposed a budget in nearly four years. The Senate Budget Committee hasn’t voted one onto the Senate calendar, a strategy led by the Democrat in charge of the chamber, Majority Leader Harry Reid, in order to keep spending at the inflated baseline of the FY2010 budget through an endless series of continuing resolutions. It’s a cynical and dangerous strategy that has led to a series of fiscal “cliffs” that has damaged the US credit rating and its standing among investors, suppressing job creation and economic growth.
Maybe Braley should study how the Senate works before lecturing the rest of us on the need for “reform,” especially when it’s his own party that has obstructed the normal-order budget process for the last four years. Iowans who want a change for reform should not cast a vote for a candidate that rewards Reid for his refusal to budget normally. And kudos to the reporter who actually challenged Braley on the Senate’s failure to follow the law in this interview.
Update: I had Braley’s first name incorrect in my initial post; I’ve corrected it now. My apologies to Rep. Braley.