Tuesday, the day that President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address, also marks the 1,000th day since Senate Democrats last proposed a budget plan.
House and Senate Republicans will be making this point often over the next 36 hours, flipping on its head the oft-repeated remark by Obama and other Democrats that House Republicans are responsible for the current legislative gridlock.
“Senate Democrats abandoned their official duty to prioritize Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars and tackle our nation’s most pressing economic challenges — dealing a painful blow to fiscal progress that may be felt for some time,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions and Rep. Paul Ryan, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, respectively, in a joint statement released Monday on the subject of the 1,000th day.
“This,” the two continued, “contrasts sharply with the record of the House Republicans.”
The last time the Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009. Senate Budget Committee Republican staff points out that the Senate could have passed a budget without fear of a filibuster, as Senate rules prohibit that action when dealing with a budget.
The joint statement paints this fact as a failure by the Democratic side to deal with the economic challenges facing the economy.
“If the president wishes to begin a genuine dialogue with the American people in tomorrow’s State of the Union address, then he must hold his own party accountable for its dogged refusal to produce a plan to prevent this crisis and lift this cloud of uncertainty from the economy,” Ryan and Sessions wrote. “The president must also deliver what he has so far refused: Serious reforms to change our debt course and prevent fiscal disaster.”
The budget proposed must be a “credible” one, Sessions and Ryan wrote, not “a phony budget plan that pretends to make changes but in reality merely keeps spending on its current trajectory.” This likely alludes to the budget President Obama proposed last year, which the Congressional Budget Office reported would have doubled the national debt over the next decade, according to numbers provided by Senate Budget Committee Republican staff. The Senate voted the bill down unanimously, 97 to 0.
“Real reforms, real spending control, and a real change in the status quo are the minimum obligations of elected leaders in these times of uncertainty and distress,” the statement concluded. “Where the president and his party have failed to confront the greatest challenges of our time, Republicans in the House and Senate will continue to work for solutions to ensure that government can keep its promises, take less from hardworking families and businesses, and create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity.”