Op-Eds

America is greatly in need of strong, competent leadership.

Our nation’s total debt is now larger than our entire economy. Unemployment is painfully high and growth is painfully slow. Since taking office, the president has accelerated Washington’s reckless spending spree, has added trillions of dollars to the debt, and has refused to present a credible plan to put Washington’s fiscal house in order.

Meanwhile, Congress is divided. Republicans control the House, Democrats the Senate. As required by law, House Republicans presented a budget in committee, brought it to the floor, and passed it earlier this spring. It was an honest, detailed, concrete plan to put our budget on the path to balance and our economy on the path to prosperity. But Senate Democrats, during this time of national crisis, failed even to present a budget plan — in open defiance of the law and the public they serve. Senate Majority Leader Reid said it would be “foolish” to have a budget. The reason for this evasion is clear: Democrat leaders in Washington think it is politically foolish to commit publicly to the kind of tax increases and health-care rationing that would be required to sustain their vision of ever-expanding federal government.

This is the second consecutive year that Senate Democrats have disregarded the legally mandated budget process. In fact, this Sunday will mark the 900th day since Senate Democrats last adopted a formal budget plan as outlined in the Congressional Budget Act. It is a national disgrace.

As we encourage our colleagues to fulfill their basic duties of governance, we will continue to advance proposals aimed at strengthening the budget process. It is time Washington played by the rules. Elected leaders have a legal — and moral — obligation to prioritize taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars with an honest budget. We’re approaching 900 days since Senate Democrats last took that obligation seriously.

— U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama serves as the Ranking Republican of the Senate Budget Committee. U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

This op-ed originally appeared in National Review Online.