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McCarthy: Democrats' Irresponsible Decision to Skip Budget Must Be Overturned

Apr 15, 2010
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, along with other colleagues, sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking that House Democratic leaders not take the unprecedented move of skipping the process of debating and passing a budget for the Federal government. The House has never failed to pass a budget resolution since the current budget rules were put into place in 1974.

McCarthy issued the following statement:

"As millions of American families and small businesses are making tough budgeting decisions to make ends meet especially during tax season, failure to even bring up a budget resolution demonstrates this Congress' lack of leadership and will to make tough decisions to rein in unsustainable deficit spending," said McCarthy. " Moreover, the lack of a budget calls into question whether the House Democratic leadership has any plans at all on how to tackle the estimated $1.5 trillion deficit this year, and begs the question whether they instead intend to follow the President's lead under his budget proposal—a proposal that would push government spending to $3.8 trillion for FY 2011, result in annual deficits that never drop below $700 billion for the next decade, and balloon the Federal publicly-held debt to $20.2 trillion or 90% of GDP by 2020. Not allowing Members of Congress to vote on a responsible budget, which includes record spending and nearly triples the Federal debt, could threaten our economy, undermine future job creation, and allow Washington to continue its unaccountable tax and spend policies is irresponsible. The American people deserve better."

Below is the text of the letter:

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

As Americans scramble to meet today’s tax filing deadline, the Democratic Congress will miss its own deadline for one of the most basic acts of governing: passing a budget resolution. Worse, recent press reports have indicated that the House of Representatives may not consider a budget resolution this year. If true, this would be the first time since the passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that the House would fail to craft a budget. We believe that this would set a terrible precedent, and we strongly urge you to reject these reports and encourage the House to consider a budget resolution later this year.

While we may disagree on a number of issues, one issue we can all agree on is that our nation’s long-term fiscal outlook is unsustainable. The gap between revenues and expenditures, already large by historical standards, is only going to become larger over time. The longer Congress waits to deal with this fiscal imbalance, the more difficult the choices become to solve this problem. The time to start making decisions about our long term deficit is not some time in the distant future, but now.

The purpose of the Congressional budget is to create enforceable parameters within which Congress can consider legislation dealing with spending and revenue. In the absence of a budget, there would be virtually no procedural enforcement mechanism to constrain spending in either the House or the Senate. Especially in an election year, this would be an open invitation for Congress to increase spending to unprecedented levels.

In the current environment, prudent fiscal discipline is more important than ever. As we have seen in countries such as Greece, failure to adopt sensible spending restraint can have catastrophic implications. Our two parties may have different perspectives about the appropriate levels of spending, taxation and debt, but surely this is a debate that we should have. In the spirit of openness and transparency, we urge you to do all within your power to ensure that the House of Representatives exercise its responsibility to the American taxpayer, and consider a budget this year.

Related: House Has Passed Budget Resolution Every Year Since Budget Act, According To Study (The Hill)

McCarthy Introduces Legislation To Bring More Transparency to Government Spending