U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, joined by his colleagues in the GOP Conference, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that the chamber not go into recess without completing its work, as required by law, on a budget resolution. While every Senate Democrat voted against every budget proposal yesterday, the Majority has yet to produce a plan of its own or to convene the Budget Committee to work on a resolution:
A text of the letter follows:
Dear Majority Leader Reid:
Today marks the 757th day since Congress last adopted a conference report on a budget resolution. But while the Republican House has met its obligations this year, the Democrat-led Senate remains in open defiance of the law--last year the Senate did not even call up a budget for a vote and this year the Senate Budget Committee has not even marked up a resolution, as required under Sec. 300 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-344).
Despite this dubious distinction, the Senate plans to adjourn for a week-long recess on Friday to coincide with Memorial Day, a holiday that honors our men and women in uniform. As our service members put their lives on the line to defend this nation, surely the least Congress can do is produce a plan to confront the debt that is placing the whole country at risk. House Republicans put forward just such a budget weeks ago--an honest plan for
prosperity to overcome this nation's dangerously rising debt, cut wasteful Washington spending, and make our economy more competitive.
But, in this time of economic danger, the Senate continues to stonewall any and all action on a FY2012 budget. For this reason, we respectfully request that you delay any adjournment of this body until you or members of your party in the Senate bring forward a budget resolution and schedule a meeting of the Budget Committee--a power which resides solely with the majority--to work on that budget.
In an interview last week, you stated, "There's no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage." We find these remarks shocking, especially given the state of our fiscal affairs: the co-chairs of President Obama's own fiscal commission recently warned that, if we do not take swift and serious action to address our rising debt, the United States faces "the most predictable economic crisis in its history."
The House completed its work on the FY2012 budget resolution on April 15th. But no budget can become binding until the Senate acts. In our view it would be an astounding abandonment of responsibility for the Senate to go on recess without having taken any steps to produce a budget. We hope that, as required by law and in your capacity as Majority Leader, you change course and follow the example of the Republican-led House and provide the American people with the honest leadership and the honest budget they deserve.
Until a budget plan is made public, and until that plan is scheduled for committee action, on what basis can the Senate justify returning home for a one-week vacation and recess while our spending and debt continue to spiral dangerously out of control?
We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request and welcome any questions you might have.
Very truly yours,
Michael B. Enzi
Susan M. Collins
Kay Bailey Hutchison