A quartet of Senate Republicans took to the floor of the upper chamber moments ago for a colloquy to mark Democrats’ latest non-budget milestone: 1,111 days since the Senate last passed a budget.
“The No. 1 responsibility we have in the United States Senate is to pass a budget,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said, adding that he has quit voting for any spending bills until the body can present a budget. “I am embarrassed for this body, candidly, that we haven’t even tried to take up a budget. I just can’t imagine a greater shirking of our responsibilities.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) charged that Democrats won’t put forth a budget because they are “embarrassed” by how the American people would react to it.
“All the American people ask for is value for their money,” he said.
Freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said in his time in Congress that Republicans in the House had lived up to their responsibility to produce a budget, but Senate Democrats “simply refuse to be held accountable, and that’s a real shame.”
He said that Democrats could at least produce something to send to conference committee, “then we’d have some process to be able to compromise.”
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) noted that all four of the senators present had run a business at some time or another.
“We know when we’re talking about new taxes, which is all we hear from the administration, that new taxes aren’t going to help the economy grow,” she said. “This administration will not even consider lower taxes and lower spending levels.
Why on earth don’t we listen to the small-business people of this country?”
Hutchison noted that entitlement spending currently accounts for more than half of spending each year, and in 10 years, on its current course, will account for 74 percent of spending.
Several budget proposals are expected to come up for votes on Thursday: ones from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) “Path to Prosperity,” and President Obama’s budget proposal.
Corker noted the “grand bargain” that is stinging western democracies around the world: “where politicians have given citizens what they wish without asking them to pay for it… this is up now.”
“The greatest threat is not what’s happening in China, it’s not hat’s happening in Iran, it’s not what’s happening in Syria,” Corker said. “This is the greatest threat to our nation: our inability to show the kind of discipline we need to show.”
“I do hope that the U.S. Senate at some point soon will rise up and deal with the major responsibility we have as a nation, and that is putting our country on sound financial footing,” Corker added. “We know the calamity that is going to occur if we don’t address this issue.”