Most reasonable voters agree our never-ending growth in federal spending and debt is imperiling the nation.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has failed to submit a realistic budget, and Senate Democrats have failed to pass a budget in more than three years. Ever wonder what the Republican-controlled House could do about this sorry state of affairs?
The answer is simple. Absent any budget discipline, the president and Senate enjoy maximum flexibility to make politically expedient decisions irrespective of cost, even if disastrous to the nation's financial health.
A case in point is the fiasco over the payroll tax cut extension. Late last December, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid coaxed his colleagues into passing a two-month extension without offsetting savings to pay for it and sent the Senate into recess, leaving the House a take-it-or-leave-it choice. The House had passed a full-year extension using offsetting savings. An agreement has now been reached to extend the tax cut without offsetting savings.
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The House should give the Senate a dose of its own medicine. It should pass a budget and all 12 spending bills required by the Budget Impoundment and Control Act of 1974 and go into recess until the Senate passes a good-faith budget. The House would dramatically demonstrate that it is not a "do-nothing" body. Instead, we would see a "do-nothing" president and Senate. Republicans could capitalize on the stalemate with a loud and continuous refrain of "where's the budget?"
Paul S. Egan