Top Democrats have abdicated their leadership role and are ignoring the nation’s budget problems because they’re focused on their 2012 election campaigns, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions told The Daily Caller.
“We’re heading towards the most predictable crisis in our history,” said Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate’s budget committee, “and we have no leadership.”
The Democrats will instead use their control of the Senate to make the GOP look bad, Sessions predicted.
“I doubt they’ll propose to raise the capital gains [rate] … but they’ll talk about it and complain about it, and try to make it look like Gov. [Mitt] Romney did something wrong” by paying his capital-gains taxes properly, he told TheDC.
“They’ve made a calculation that they’ll lay the responsibilities on us to be the [budget] naysayers, the worriers and hand-wringers, and they’ll put on the bright robes of hope and progress,” Sessions warned.
President Barack Obama didn’t address the impending budget disaster in his State of the Union speech, and he’s ignoring it in his re-election campaign, observed Sessions, whose status as part of the GOP minority prevents him from calling hearings or forcing votes.
Since Obama was inaugurated, Congress has approved $4 trillion worth of economic stimulus via deficit spending. In those three years the accumulated deficit has exceeded $15 trillion, equal to the entire annual value of the U.S. economy.
Economic growth has stalled, the nation’s credit rating has been downgraded, and millions of Baby Boomers have signed up for Social Security and Medicare.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is also refusing to pass a budget, Sessions said, because that would force his members to vote on GOP proposals.
The Democratic Senate hasn’t produced a budget bill for the last three years, ensuring the budgets are assembled without the senators having to vote on amendments.
The leading Democrat on the budget committee, North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, has promised that the committee will, in fact, produce a budget for 2012.
But there’s no guarantee that any budget will be debated on the Senate floor, even though some Democratic senators are worried enough about the nation’s finances to push for a budget debate, Sessions explained.
“If Harry Reid really works it hard, he’s proven he can hold his members [in check], and he does not want to have a vote on this,” he said.
The budget-writing process is important, he insisted, because it would “commit them to a plan for the future for America, and it shows just how much they want to raise taxes [and] increase spending, and how much the debt is going to increase.”
For example, in a Senate floor debate, “you have 50 hours of full debate, and you can have an unlimited number of amendments, and it allows the minority party to bring forth their ideas [about] how to fix the nation,” he said.
The Democrats are avoiding budgetary issues because their political priorities are too unpopular to pass, he added. “I think they know their [Senate] majority is endangered if they advocate openly and publicly and on the record, for items [they favor] that raise the debt and raise spending.”
The president also ignored the impending disaster in his Jan. 24 State of the Union speech, Sessions said.
“Every issue where he had a serious disagreement [with the public], he had some language saying he agreed with the American people, but then he would go on to stick by his regulatory and other [spending] plans… It was a craftily crafted speech,” Sessions quipped.
The Democrats’ strategy of obfuscation is hard to understand, Sessions told TheDC. “I can’t imagine it would be successful, because there was great momentum in the last election for a confrontation with our surging debt.”
In the October election, he added, “the big spenders took a shellacking, I thought the administration and the Democratic Senate would respond to that.”
But the Democrats, he claimed, haven’t risen to the occasion.
This year, “it appears their political strategy is that they’re going to talk about hope and not talk about realities. … That is a deep failure of leadership.”