Never before has the Senate gone three years in a row without passing a budget. Since 1974, when Congress adopted the modern budget process, there have been several years when House and Senate negotiators did not agree on an identical budget that passed both houses. But according to the Congressional Research Service, there was only one year prior to the Obama era when the Senate did not pass any budget — that was 2002, when the majority Democratic Senate did not approve a budget for fiscal 2003.
If the Democrats had built up a track record as responsible stewards of the national balance sheet, perhaps they could justify living without a budget. But the nation’s deficit has exceeded a trillion dollars in each of the last three years, and federal spending topped $10 trillion over that time period. According to trustees reports released this past Monday, the nation’s long-term debt from just two programs — Medicare and Social Security — has now reached a staggering $63.3 trillion.
And so rather than release a budget that would open them up to criticism during an election year, Democrats have opted to shirk their duties so they can have a freer hand to attack Republicans. This is what three solid years of political cynicism looks like.