Obama budget goes down in flames; the whole process needs reform

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Here’s a story you are certainly not going to hear about from the mainstream media. Breitbart.com reports, President Obama’s budget failed in the House of Representatives today with only two Democratic members voting for it, the latest in a series of instances in which congressional Democrats have emphatically opposed the president’s budgets when put to a vote.

The budget was proposed as an amendment to the House Republican budget by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, (R-SC), in order to force Democrats to go on the record in support of the president. Reps. Jim Moran, (D-VA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) were the only Democrats voting in favor of the bill.

Democrats rejected the vote, calling it a political stunt. This same vote was done when I was serving. Why? Because the Democrats in the House would not sponsor the President’s budget to come forth as a standalone. And yes, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), a member of the House Budget Committee sought to force Democrats to support or reject Obama’s budget before. It seems that the vote was on the Obama budget as a separate amendment.

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“This budget will also continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long-term — not by putting the burden on folks who can least afford it, but by reforming our tax code and our immigration system and building on the progress that we’ve made to reduce health care costs under the Affordable Care Act,” Obama explained after rolling out his budget in March.


Well, we reported here on his budget, the one that NEVER balances, increases the debt, and explodes our net interest on the debt as part of the mandatory spending side of our federal budget.

Now, we can go back and forth on the issues of political procedures of the House of Representatives, that’s not the point here. The real question is, what is the purpose of a federal budget? And I’m not just talking about the typical Obama budget of $3.9 trillion, which included billions of dollars in new spending, cuts to the military and included higher taxes on the wealthy.

I am asking why the federal government presents a budget when there is no balanced budget amendment in place? Instead the budget resolution has become simply a political straw man, nothing more. It’s not a binding agreement and has seemingly no relation to the appropriations process — Hence why we have an endless stream of “continuing resolutions” which just allow the government to continue to spend money, with no fiscal restraints.

As well, the appropriations (spending) procedure known as baseline budgeting means that each year there is an automatic increase in spending, and any cuts are just reductions to the increases. The federal government needs to move towards “zero-based budgeting” where the budget planning starts every year, yep, from zero.

However, I don’t see how that can happen when there is no priority on reducing spending in Washington DC. There are twelve appropriations (spending) bills that are done annually, generally not on time and therefore Omnibus spending bills are produced, indeed laden with unrelated spending known as “pork barrels.”

While in Congress, I wrote a letter to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky) inquiring why we didn’t have a tiered priority process for these spending bills; Tiers I to III. Tier III spending bills, as the lowest priority, could be done on a biennial basis. Each tier would contain four of these appropriations bills and their tier positions would be based upon their constitutionally-driven priority. Needless to say, I never heard back from Chairman Rogers.

So, you want to talk about waste? Consider all the man hours and paper that goes into all these folks producing a budget. The President does a budget. House Democrats do a budget. House Republicans do a budget. The Congressional Progressive Caucus does a budget. The Congressional Black Caucus does a budget. The Republican Study Committee does a budget. Senate Democrats do a budget. Senate Republicans do a budget. And in the end, none of them truly matter.

My recommendation? Go back to the 2006 federal spending level, the last time we had an annual deficit under $400 billion. Establish a balanced budget amendment for the federal government. Maintain federal government spending between 20-22 percent of our GDP — right now it is almost 25 percent and could explode to 30 percent if we don’t get federal spending under control.

If you’ve have read this far, I commend you because I imagine most will see the headline and not bother — and that’s we why have out-of-control spending in Washington DC. The only entitites doing a budget in America are states that have balanced budget amendments, local governments, and the American people.

You may think this is boring — but I bet you won’t on April 15th or whenever you write that check to the federal government so they can study Mexican male sex workers. Oh you’ve forgotten about that one already?

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