Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1000 Days Without a Budget

I noticed this morning that this was day 1000 without a budget for the U.S. government. Later I saw a video of Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, chair of the Senate Budget Committee claiming to correct the falsehood that we have not had a budget for 1000 days. His reasoning is the Budget Control Act of 2011 is a budget. Click here to watch for yourself.

Now you may be asking yourself, "The Budget Control Act of 2011? What exactly is that?" Well its S. 365, also know as the law that came out of the debt ceiling debate we had in August that led to the infamous debt super committee right before we were downgraded... or as my Congressman Jay Inslee said, which helped us avoid a downgrade. Wrong again Jay.

I called the Senate Budget committee asking where I could see the budget that Senator Conrad insists was passed. Got a call back and was told they would send me a link to the actual budget and that yes indeed it was an actual budget, not a continuing resolution. Great, can't wait. Here is the link. The link is to S. 365, "an act to provide for budget control". In addition to allegedly containing the entire U.S. budget, it also covers:

1) 10 year discretionary caps
2) Vote on balanced budget amendment
3) Debt ceiling process
4) Deficit reduction
5) Pell grant and student loan

Seems like a lot for 28 pages. Seems to me that the U.S. budget alone would take more than 28 pages.

So I took a quick look at the document to see how much money we were going to spend on the Department of Education. No mention. The word Education comes up 4 times in reference to the Higher Education Act of 1965. What about the Department of the Interior. The word Interior does not appear. What about Health and Human Services. 1 reference where it states that "If a bill or joint resolution making appropriations for the fiscal year is enacted that specifies an amount for the health care fraud abuse control program at the Department of Health and Human Services...", then it goes on to set caps for the amount that can be included in the bill or joint resolution. It does not budget anything for HHS, just caps the amount that can be spent on HHS' fraud abuse control program.

So I replied back to Director of Planning and Outreach for the Senate Budget Committee asking where exactly is the budget part in this budget. Where does it specify how much is going to be spent on what? I am awaiting a reply.

I also called the local office of Senator Patty Murray who is on the budget committee and asked where I could see the budget and I was told they would have to research that and let me know.