“The new normal in Washington has become panic-driven 11th hour votes in which Members are told to fall into line before pandemonium ensues. This is no way to run the Congress or to run the government… No select committee or secret meeting is going to force the Congress to look in the mirror or to look the American people in the eye.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, made the following statement today after voting in opposition to the debt limit increase bill:
“This bill will reduce spending and does represent fiscal progress. But we have an extremely long way to go. We are going to spend around $45 trillion over the next ten years and add as much as $13 trillion to our debt. Our Republican leaders deserve credit for extracting these first spending cuts from a president and a Democrat Senate who remain committed to more spending and more government growth.
But my great reservation that compels me to oppose this bill is that we are undermining the one thing most vital to ending the debt crisis looming over us: accountability.
The new normal in Washington has become panic-driven 11th hour votes in which Members are told to fall into line before pandemonium ensues. This is no way to run the Congress or to run the government.
I fear we are relinquishing our responsibility as Senators.
There is even a little-known provision in the final bill that exempts the Senate from having to adopt a budget for two more years. It has now been 825 days since the Democrat-led Senate has passed a budget—this measure will allow us to continue running the government with no budget plan in place.
As dire as our situation is right now, it is only going to get worse. Our debt is now almost the size of our entire economy. By 2035 it will be twice the size of our entire economy. But absent deep, systemic reforms we are headed for national disaster long before that date. We cannot solve the defining challenge of our era by shutting down committees, eliminating votes, and shielding bills from amendment. The answer to our problem is more accountability, not less. No select committee or secret meeting is going to force the Congress to look in the mirror or to look the American people in the eye. The only way we are ultimately going to rise out from this chasm of debt, and climb to greater heights as a nation, is by making government more open, more accountable, and more responsive to the good and decent people we serve.”
NOTE: To view a fact sheet on the Congressional Budget Office's 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook, please click here.