As the Senate considered debating a series of budget proposals offered by Republicans and President Obama, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the Senate's failure to pass a budget in three years represents "a total failure of leadership" and is contributing to Washington's unsustainable deficits and putting the future of Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy. Corker voted to debate budgets offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa. He voted against proceeding to Obama's budget, which received zero "yes" votes. None of the proposals considered today received enough votes to advance in the Senate.
"Since the Senate last passed a budget 1,113 days ago, Congress has spent over $10 trillion of taxpayer money. This inability to perform even the most basic responsibility of government is a total failure of leadership and represents everything the American people hate about Washington," Corker said. "Republicans have offered serious budget plans to reduce our long-term deficits, reform the tax code, and restore solvency to Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, the president ignores his deficit commission and proposes only more spending, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate offers no solutions. As we fail to deal with the unsustainable growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we are piling up tremendous amounts of indebtedness for future generations and slowing the economic recovery. There is nothing that would cause our economy to lift off more quickly than implementing pro-growth tax reform and entitlement reform and passing longer-term budgets and discretionary spending caps that would put this nation on sound footing. I hope that is what we do before the end of this year."
The Senate is required by law to pass an annual budget but has not done so in three years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., refused to bring a budget up for a vote this year citing passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The non-partisan Senate parliamentarian later ruled against Reid, saying the Budget Control Act did not remove the requirement for the Senate to propose a budget by April 1. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., attempted to markup a budget in the committee but ultimately pulled the proposal from consideration.
The House of Representatives passed the Ryan budget on March 29.