Democrats control a solid majority in the House of Representatives. They have a nearly filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate. Their party controls the White House. With all of that power, one would expect the budgetary process to flow smoothly enough for Congress to pass appropriations normally, especially since budget bills are not subject to a filibuster in the Senate.
Democrats moved ahead Wednesday with a continuing resolution to keep government running past the end of the month, but Republicans are protesting how House leaders are going about it.
House Democratic leaders plan to attach the continuing resolution to the legislative branch spending bill. That package is likely to be voted on by the House on Friday.
The continuing resolution is necessary to avoid a government shutdown in October, the first month of the fiscal year. None of the 2010 appropriations bills have become law.
Democrats played this game for the 2009 budget in order to avoid having to negotiate the budget with outgoing President George W. Bush. They stalled through continuing resolutions and then passed a pork-filled omnibus bill early this year, which Obama obligingly signed. Obama has hardly demanded spending discipline from this Congress and has shown nothing but obsequious obeisance to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in allowing them to shape the actual bills for his legislative agenda all year long.
They have no excuse in 2010. Bush is no longer the problem. Republicans don’t have the votes to stop a budget bill without serious conflict within the Democratic caucuses. This is flat-out incompetence and failure to focus on Congress’ primary responsibility of producing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year on time.
Republicans so far have only made an issue of the form in which the continuing resolution will get a vote, attached to another bill that they also don’t like, which limits their parliamentary options. They need to start challenging Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on their incompetent handling of Congress. With this much power, the Democrats have no excuse for issuing continuing resolutions except for their obsession with creating massive government interventions into the private lives of Americans on health care and energy.
And if Congress can’t get its most basic task done properly and on time, what makes anyone think they can handle those choices for us in the future?