Democrats have a majority in the House with more than 70 seats over the Republicans. Appropriations can’t be filibustered in the Senate, but even if they could, Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority in the upper chamber. Passing a budget is the basic responsibility of Congressional leadership, and it was due on September 30th. In wartime, the annual defense appropriation should have the highest priority over all of the other appropriation bills that comprise the federal budget plan. The Democrats have one of their own in the Oval Office, Barack Obama, who has shown no inclination at all to interfere with Congressional leadership on legislation, not even on his highest domestic agenda priorities.
So when will this Congress get around to a conference vote on the Pentagon’s appropriation? December:
Some lawmakers are growing antsy over the delay by House Democratic leaders in moving the 2010 defense appropriations conference report to a vote.
Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), a senior defense appropriator, told The Hill on Friday that the vote on the conference “possibly” will not happen until December. …
The House leadership is expected to meet with President Barack Obama next week to discuss the strategy for the pending appropriations bills.
Meanwhile, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the Senate Appropriations Chairman, said in a short interview with The Hill that conference negotiations between the two chambers are proceeding. He also expressed confidence that the 2010 Pentagon-spending bill “will pass very soon.”
Well, don’t feel like you have to rush anything, you know. It’s not like there’s a war on, or that it’s your job or anything. Oh, wait ….
This goes directly to leadership and competence. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi missed last year’s budget deadline on purpose, to cut George Bush out of the loop. This year, they have no such excuse. They have had all year to work on the FY2010 budget. We have been at war since 9/11, and the Defense appropriation should have been passed well before the October start to the fiscal year.
If Reid and Pelosi can’t get Job 1 accomplished in 2009, voters should do their best to ensure that Democrats don’t have the opportunity to screw up any more budgets in the future.