In a time when no spending bill, government takeover, or bailout is too big or too costly for this Congress, it may seem odd for the Democrat Leadership in Washington to leave town without even setting a budget. Yet this is exactly what has happened.
Recently, the House and Senate passed a short-term bill to keep the government running through December. This "continuing resolution" is necessary as Congress has yet to pass into law any of the 12 appropriations bills which fund government. The resolution continues funding at fiscal year 2010 levels until December 3rd, even though the new Fiscal Year began Oct. 1.
During these tough economic times, families have had to make difficult decisions and plan their household budgets accordingly. It is upsetting to me Congress has failed to do likewise.
At its most basic level, Congress has the duty to wisely steward government revenue. Instead of taking a stand against growing government spending, debt, and deficits, Congress is procrastinating at a time when action is desperately needed.
So far, the House of Representatives has passed only two of the 12 appropriations bills necessary to provide funding for the federal government -- and those two bills were the less contentious Veterans Affairs and Transportation Appropriations bills. The Senate, meanwhile, has yet to pass a single one.
Families and businesses typically set a budget before deciding what to spend; but so far this year we haven't even started the process -- let alone scheduled a vote on a budget resolution. This session also marks the first time the House of Representatives has failed to pass a budget since 1974 -- effectively ignoring its responsibility to establish a fiscal blueprint for our government.
The failure to pass any appropriation bill into law and the willful disregard for producing a budget represents a tremendous failure.
Every taxpayer in America today has a $122,000 share of the national debt. My website (http://adriansmith.house.gov) features a debt clock which shows just how far into the red our country has gone. This enormous debt will be passed down to the next generation of Americans unless we take action.
The continuing resolution effectively ended the legislative session until after the elections. This delay guarantees Congress will not take up until November legislation blocking the $3.8 trillion tax hike slated to hit at the first of the year. It is defenseless for the Democrat majority to pack up for weeks and weeks without any action to prevent harmful tax increases which will only further harm our crippled economy.
Congress had the chance to end this uncertainty for families and small businesses by holding an up-or-down vote on the tax hikes set to take effect on January 1st. The failure by Nancy Pelosi to allow a vote preventing these tax increases displays a lack of leadership.
This inaction forces a "lame duck" session after the election, opening the door for even more misguided legislation, such as cap-and-trade or "card check" legislation.
We can strengthen our nation's economy by cutting non-security spending back to 2008 levels, freezing all tax rates for two years, and providing long-term certainty for entrepreneurs, families and workers. This isn't rocket science -- it's just common sense.