In early 2011, Barack Obama received a report from the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission he himself launched that outlined a series of significant cuts and new taxes that would have at least lowered the rate at which the country added to its debt. Obama ignored the report completely and instead proposed a budget with nearly $1.5 trillion in deficit spending, with no serious attempts to cut spending. It was so embarrassing that Republicans had to force the Democrat-controlled Senate in May 2011 to bring it up for a vote, where it failed unanimously, 0-97.
Before taking up their own budget plan for next year, House Republicans pushed a version of President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget to the floor for a vote, and it was it was unanimously defeated, 414-0.
Republicans have opposed Obama’s budget all year, criticizing its tax increases on the wealthy and saying it lacks sufficient spending cuts. …
GOP lawmakers forced the vote on Obama’s plan as a tactical move aiming at embarrassing Democrats. The Democrats have defended Obama’s budget priorities, but they largely voted “no” Wednesday night.
Republicans said Democrats were afraid to vote for Obama’s proposed tax increases and extra spending for energy and welfare. Democrats said Republicans had forced a vote on a version of Obama’s budget that contained only its numbers, not the policies he would use to achieve them.
That’s an interesting excuse. Budgets are all about the numbers. If the President wants to keep proposing massive deficits, increased spending, and higher taxes, those policies are the numbers. Democrats are just embarrassed that the numbers add up to old-school tax-and-spend policies, and that they didn’t have a chance to obfuscate by declaring that Republicans are engaging in a war on left-handed Basque women who use marshmallow Schnapps for medicinal purposes.
This is the second year in a row that Obama’s budget couldn’t win a single Democratic vote in Congress. In parliamentary systems, that would be a vote of no confidence and the party would be looking for new leadership. Perhaps it’s time for the country to do what Democrats won’t do for themselves and look for leadership who can produce rational numbers in budgets, or at least budgets that can win a vote from its own party.