Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Democrats have only themselves to blame for not passing a budget

It turns out that the Democrats only have themselves to blame when it comes to their current situation on taxes. Considering their current majority in Congress (though not for long), you would assume that they would be able to pass their desired tax package, even if it was using reconciliation. So why didn't Democrats use reconciliation to put this thing to bed on their terms, rather than being forced to bargain with Republicans?

Because they can't. Here's why ...

To pass a measure by reconciliation, the Senate must pass a budget that contains what are called reconciliation instructions. But this year, as they faced an angry electorate and grim prospects in the midterm elections, the Democratic leadership made the specific decision not to pass a budget. Revealing their spending priorities to voters already unhappy with out-of-control federal expenditures was just too risky, so Sen. Harry Reid and party leaders punted, even though passing a budget is one of Congress' core constitutional responsibilities.

With no budget, there could be no reconciliation. And no possibility of using reconciliation to extend the Bush tax cuts -- which were originally passed with bipartisan support -- on the Democrats' terms. Shirking your constitutional responsibilities can have consequences.

Oops. Looks like the Democrats can't have their cake and eat it too. Now look where that got them. I wonder if they would prefer to have voted on a budget in the current political climate or get their way on taxes? Guess we will never know.


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