Jul 14 2011
"If the party that controls the Senate believes it can appropriate money without any overall plan for spending, borrowing, and taxing, it ought to be able to muster 60 votes to support that view."
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, today offered an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act that would strengthen the existing legal requirement that appropriations bills not be considered unless the Senate has passed a budget. Under current law, a 303(c) point of order can be raised against any appropriations bill for a given fiscal year if a concurrent budget resolution has not been adopted for that year, requiring a majority of present Senators to waive it. Sessions’ amendment would increase the threshold to 60 votes. The original cosponsors of the Sessions amendment are Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bob Corker (R-TN), and John Cornyn (R-TX).
Sessions issued the following comment regarding his proposal:
"Congress has few responsibilities greater than the requirement, codified in the Congressional Budget Act, that we pass a budget each year by April 15. Sadly, the Democrat majority has refused to complete this fundamental task in 806 days, and the Majority Leader even said it would be „foolish? for Democrats to produce a budget this year. It is not difficult to guess why—putting a plan on paper would require them to reveal their desire for higher taxes and little or no real spending cuts.
One of the enforcement provisions in the Congressional Budget Act—intended to help ensure honest accounting—is a prohibition against the consideration of appropriations bills in the absence of a budget. This is just common sense: you should
not spend taxpayer dollars without a plan for how to do so. But the authors of the Congressional Budget Act likely did not contemplate a future in which the governing party believes budgets are no longer necessary, as seems to be the case today. That?s why I am proposing that we increase the threshold of votes required to waive the enforcement of this provision. If the party that controls the Senate believes it can appropriate money without any overall plan for spending, borrowing, and taxing, it ought to be able to muster 60 votes to support that view.
Increasing this threshold is not enough to restore honest accounting and reverse the disastrous fiscal trend we?re on, but it?s a start."
[Note: The Democrat manager of today?s appropriations bill, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, blocked consideration of the amendment when it was first offered. Sessions said that he would not only continue to raise points of order against future appropriations bills, but that he would continue fighting to force a vote on his measure.
Forty Republican Senators voted today to sustain the point of order against the pending appropriations bill, while 56 voted to waive. Sessions? proposal, if it were codified in law, would have prevented consideration of the bill.]