Missing a budget deadline is a failing with which we New Yorkers, through our dysfunctional State Legislature, have become all too familiar. The Pelosi/Reid Congress, however, has taken budget delinquency to a new level, by actively refusing to pass a budget resolution before the fiscal year expires at the end of September – and isn’t likely to do so before the November elections, either. To which one can only respond, in a year in which the American public is increasingly, and justifiably, furious at the completely irresponsible behavior of this Congress: “Good luck with that.”
As with the closed-door deals and giveaways that led to the passage of the health care bill, Democrats are depending on fancy parliamentary footwork to get the job done, in this case without actually doing their job. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) has floated the idea of “deeming” a budget passed, which would ostensibly define spending limits for the next fiscal year. Sharp-eyed observers will recognize that term, “deeming”, as the same rules-related tactic House and Senate Democrats almost used last spring to slip the health care bill past reluctant Blue Dogs, until public outrage forced them to back down.
Here’s the brilliant part: while deeming a budget resolution passed will set up a budget framework – whatever that may mean – for Fiscal Year 2011, it will enable Democrats to avoid actually voting on deficit spending! Deeming a budget resolution passed does not take into account future deficits, which means that any mention of the $1 trillion in federal spending from the last year, spread out over the next five to ten years and arguably the Democrats’ worst Achilles’ heel this election cycle, will be conveniently omitted. Out of sight, out of mind: problem solved.
The thing is, even though congressional Democrats might be able to avoid putting the words “deficit” and “trillion” on the same sheet of paper this year by way of sleight-of-hand, that money is still slated to be spent. Just because you don’t tell us you’re spending it, that doesn’t mean it’s back in our wallets, does it?
All of this begs an important question: where is John Hall in all this? Why does the man who purports to represent us remain silent in the face of such craven manipulation by his Democratic colleagues? It appears that the people of the 19th District may “deem” Rep. Hall complicit in this deception.
UPDATE: Closing quote, once again from Rep. John Spratt, back in 2006: “If you can’t budget, you can’t govern.” It would follow, it seems, that if you refuse to budget, you don’t deserve to govern.