The Congress of the United States is broken. Yesterday there was a six-hour farce on the floor of the Senate to supposedly consider five different budget proposals. 57 Senators (including Senators from both parties) voted “no” on all five budgets.
Four of the proposed budgets were Republican budgets and included Congressman Paul Ryan’s House-passed budget (which got 1 more vote this year than it got last year for a total of 41), and three offered by Republican Senators, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul.
The Democrat budget – the President’s Budget proposal – went down to a 0-99 defeat. In fact, the President’s budget did not get a SINGLE vote – from either party – in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
Senate leadership allowed the votes to take place, but prevented unlimited debate and amendments from being offered. It was just an election year spectacle as Senators traded partisan jabs and accomplished nothing meaningful for We the People.
How can Congress rein in spending when it refuses to set spending priorities? No wonder they are once again approaching the debt limit and will soon be threatened with another “government shut down.” Let’s fix Congress now!
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) has just introduced an idea the Tea Party Patriots can rally around – make Congress adopt a budget or stop getting checks (HR 3643). It’s a start and a refreshing one. Passing a budget is required by Congress’ rules, so what are they waiting for? Rep. Cooper’s bill is also a way to call out members who are deliberately obstructing the process (like those 57 Senators opposed to all the proposed budgets and their like-minded colleagues in the House). Congress needs to have a vote on HR 3643 and if it catches on, move up the date – October is a long time from now and the nation has already been without a budget 1,114 days! Good grief! It has now been over three years since the Senate last passed a budget!
But you know what? They aren’t going to do this. Rep. Cooper’s last bill, H.R. 2653, a bill to cut off congressional pay whenever the Treasury is unable to pay all its bills because the public debt limit has been reached, went nowhere. Congress has insisted on going for broke, so let’s return the “favor.” If they are going to let the nation go broke, why don’t we insist they go broke along with the rest of the government? Maybe We the People need to “claw back” some or all of their “unearned income.” In fact, Congress should adopt our proposal, make it a rule, follow it, and not only will they solve the debt problem, they just might save their jobs! (Naked threat intended).
While Rep. Cooper tries to get his modest proposal passed, maybe we should be thinking about calling for something stronger. Let your local coordinator know your thoughts on this.