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MissAusten's avatar

Why didn't Congress pass a budget last year?

Asked by MissAusten (16157points) April 8th, 2011

I hear a lot of complaining that Congress should have passed a budget last year, but didn’t make it a priority. Now it’s the Democrats’ own fault for not getting it done when they had the chance. I also read somewhere that one reason they couldn’t pass a budget last year was because of filibusters, but budget votes can’t be filibustered.

Is there a plain and simple answer based on fact? Links to back it up would be highly appreciated.

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6 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“Hoyer this spring noted that the GOP-led Congress didn’t pass a final resolution in 1998, 2004 and 2006.”

The Hill

Apparently, it was because they wanted to wait for the bi-partisan fiscal commission on reducing the deficit whose recommendations were not available until December of 2010.

Jaxk's avatar

It’s really fairly clear. With the election looming and the atmosphere in the country railing against deficits, it didn’t make sense to provide another point of contention. No matter how you slice it, the budget was going to be huge and would not benefit the Democrats during the election. Once the election was over the Democrats were reeling from the losses and there was little stomach to or time to create budget that would be that contentious. So here we are.

There was no filibuster because there was no proposal.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Jaxk would it be too much if for once you include in your answer a non partisan element to it? I mean even the republicans no doubt had something to do with not passing a budget!

Jaxk's avatar


Sure. There’s no question that the Republicans were anxious to see a budget proposal from the Democrats and that they would have used it in the campaign. It was a hot potato that the democrats could not afford and the Republicans would have loved to see on the campaign trail.

There is no doubt that Republicans would have fought the spending tooth and nail but with the majorities enjoyed by the Democrats it would have been difficult to stop. The bipartisan commission was an easy excuse but since we’re talking about the current year, I can’t see how that would have much effect. At best it would pertain to next years budget.

I am perplexed by thier not attempting to pass something in November or December since the results were clear and a big budget was only going to be more unlikely. I can only assume they couldn’t muster the votes in the short time they had.

There is also the issue of operating without a budget. Without a budget they are able to continue spending at the current rate, in other words no cuts. Any budget battle would likely have required some level of cutting. Whether this was a consideration in anybodies mind is pure speculation.

Sorry but that’s about as close as I can get.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Jaxk thanks, much better! It’s clear that in politics every move is carefully calculated to reach a desirable outcome, advanced studied, weighed and vetted by brilliant and shrewd political brains. And that goes the same for both parties naturally. Maybe this impending government shutdown, a direct result of the budget debacle could be one of those unfortunate necessities that could magnify the issue so more of the American people would pay attention. After all it is their lives and future at stake. If in the next elections there would be more than 40% of votes, then this learning experience maybe worth something.
Going back to your statement that democrats enjoyed their majorities, I doubt that very much since they have blue dogs with them and frankly they had to lick the floor with their tongues for what bitter bits of republican votes they could get. So enjoy? I don’t think so.

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