With Paychecks on the Line, Senate Dems Suddenly Open to a Budget | Speaker.gov

In recent months, top Senate Democrats said they couldn’t guarantee they’d pass a budget, suggesting they’d ignore “the most basic responsibility of governing” for the fourth year in a row.

“There was no indication they were ever going to do a budget,” said Speaker John Boehner, “until we announced last week that we were going to move this bill that said pass a budget or no pay.”

Instead of simply doing what every American does – and what is required by law – Roll Call says Democrats had to “explore the pros and cons of actually crafting a budget.” One Democratic aide finally admitted GOP pressure was one of the reasons for “Senate Democrats’ change of heart on the matter.”

“It took one week in which their paychecks were on the line,” said Majority Leader Eric Cantor, for Senate Democrats to contemplate maybe finally passing a budget.

News reports agree – the GOP move forced Democrats to get to work:

  • House Republicans essentially maneuvered Senate Democrats into agreeing to draw up a spending plan, something they have avoided for three years.” (New York Times, 1/22/13)
  • “Harry Reid has successfully avoided showing his cards on spending priorities for four years. ... The latest GOP plan ... will force the Nevada Democrat to lay his cards on the table.” (Washington Times, 1/23/13)
  • “[Republicans] made House Democrats look silly when 111 of them voted against the no budget/no pay extension even while the White House and Senate Democrats approved the idea. Do House Dems want to get paid for not doing their job?” (Washington Post, 1/24/13)

As Speaker Boehner said yesterday, the House is committed to doing a budget “that will balance over the next 10 years.  It’s time for the Senate and the president to show the American people how they’re willing to balance the budget over the next 10 years” as well.

But the question remains: will they? Will Senate Democrats really ever pass a budget? Or will they allow our spending-driven debt to continue to dampen our economy and threaten our future?