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"Congress was out of Washington for the Memorial Day recess this week, having left town before fulfilling two major responsibilities:

"1) Passing a bill needed to fund our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and to pay for our humanitarian assistance in Haiti. Instead of voting on the bill, Congressional leaders have been hard at work "larding up" the bill with all sorts of unrelated, deficit-expanding, non-emergency domestic spending;

"2) Passing a budget resolution. Nearly two months beyond the official deadline, it appears that Speaker Pelosi won't even bring a budget to the floor of the House for a vote this year. According to the Congressional Research Service, this is an unprecedented failure to act. This would be the first time since passage of the Budget Act in 1974 that the House fails to pass a version of a budget resolution.

"It may sound like Washington "inside baseball', but there is one important reason Congress needs to pass a budget: a budget would give us the opportunity to cut government spending.

"Our national debt is growing rapidly. The International Monetary Fund, of all groups, is predicting our national debt will equal the size of our entire economy by 2015. That is absolutely unsustainable!

"Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker says time is 'growing short' for the U.S. to address its budget deficit. 'We better get started,' he said in a speech in May in California. 'Today's concerns may soon become tomorrow's existential crises.'

"I could not agree more."

Rodney Frelinghuysen

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