It's been 1,056 days since the Democrat-controlled Senate has passed a budget, despite budgets bills being passed by the Republican House. Senate Leader Harry Reid has declared that we don't need a budget.
"We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year," Reid told reporters last month, arguing that legislation setting limits on spending is sufficient.
"The fact is, you don't need a budget," agreed fellow Democrat and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer a few weeks ago. "We can adopt appropriations bills. We can adopt authorization policies without a budget. We already have an agreed-upon cap on spending."
In fact, the lawmakers are required by law to pass a budget each year. That's made conspicuously clear by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. But proposing and passing a budget can cause lots of problems. It can force a party to take potentially unpopular stands on critical issues. How much should the government spend on national defense? On health care? On social programs? As Reid and his allies see it, better to just ignore the whole thing.
Representative Paul Ryan has proposed yet another plan for reducing our debt and bringing our spending under control: the Path to Prosperity.
Lots of structural changes and spending cuts. This is the kind and scale of change we need to restore our fiscal health, even if we can quibble about the details.