Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is spearheading a campaign calling on Congress to rein in excessive federal spending, starting with the launch of a website highlighting the Senate's failure to pass a federal budget in more than 1,400 days.
“They say failing to plan is planning to fail, but, unfortunately, that’s been the Democrats’ approach to our budgetary challenges for nearly four years,” a news release from Blunt stated. "It’s time for the Democrat-led Senate to get serious about spending and to get serious about passing a budget."
Blunt blamed the Senate’s lack of a budget for leading the country into financial turmoil.
“Nearly four years have passed since we have had any kind of blueprint,” Blunt said. “We’ve seen the government just lurch from crisis to crisis, and, frankly, these crises have been created by the people who then say they’re trying to deal with them.”
The website, an offshoot of Blunt’s homepage, features blog posts which focus on milestones in the past 1,400 days. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., pointed out Krispy Kreme has sold 10.5 billion donuts since the last budget was passed. Legislators have also encouraged their constituents to tweet with hashtags #NoDemBudget and #1400days to draw attention to the problem.
“Since the Senate, controlled by Democrats, passed a budget in April of 2009, lots of things have happened,” Blunt said. “Nobody in America had an iPad yet. Nobody in America now doesn’t know somebody who has an iPad, if they don’t have one themselves.”
Blunt drew attention to the growing deficit, saying it was $12 trillion the last time the Senate passed a budget and $16.6 trillion now. Blunt previously supported the no-budget, no-pay act that would withhold pay from senators if they do not pass a budget by April 15.
Political science professor Marvin Overby said the Senate’s procedure and political makeup makes it hard for senators to pass a budget. Senators can pass a budget with a simple 51-vote majority, but it takes a filibuster-proof 60 votes for the resolution to take effect.
“(Blunt) wants to make a point that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed a budget and Democratically-controlled Senate has not passed a budget for over three years now,” Overby said. “It’s a bit disingenuous to do that because it’s a very, very different process in the House and Senate.”
Overby said it is easier to pass budget resolutions in the House because the majority party wields most of the power. However, senators’ ability to filibuster gives the minority party in the Senate considerably more power.
“If things don’t happen in the House, it’s the majority party’s fault,” Overby said. “If things don’t happen in the Senate, it’s likely to be the minority party’s fault.”
Overby said current concerns about the lack of a Senate budget stem from the sequester, although the government’s structure makes it inherently difficult for Congress and the president to work together to compromise on the issue.
“Why this is coming up now is because of the sequester,” Overby said. “The constitutional order was set up to make it difficult for the government institutions to come to agreement. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing. The constitution is an 18th century document. But we’re trying to make that 18th century order work with 21st century problems.”