It’s been more than 1,000 days since the Senate passed a budget. This failure is a violation of the law, but since the Senate is the only body that can enforce this particular law on itself—which it doesn’t want to do—there are no legal ramifications.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) who is not seeking re-election this year finally let his sense of shame get the best of him last weekend when he announced that the Senate would produce a budget. Conrad is the head of the Senate Finance Committee and had announced that Wednesday that committee would markup a budget bill.
Here is a picture from that meeting.
The empty chairs at that table are reserved for committee Democrats. With the exception of Conrad, no Democrat appeared at the meeting. Between Conrad’s weekend appearances on various Sunday morning talk shows and Wednesday’s meeting, Senate majority leader Harry Reid came down on Conrad like a ton of bricks. There will be no budget. There will be no votes. For the third year in a row.
Democrats aren’t interested in voting on anything—especially if the vote might mean tough questions for senators back home.
The House Republicans have proposed and passed a budget. It isn’t perfect. It’s not necessarily what I would’ve written were I king of the United States. But at least they’re being responsible. At least they’re leading.
Which is more than can be said for Senate Democrats or President Obama.