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On the Brink Again

Posted on by rking

2013 Budget Timeline: No Regular Order, Just More GOP Obstruction & Manufactured Crises

Republicans have refused to negotiate with congressional Democrats and President Obama all year; when the American people ask how we got to this point on the budget, the story is really very simple.  On budget issues, Republicans called for regular order at the beginning of the yearRegular order means the House and Senate each pass their budgets and work out the differences in a conference.  The House and Senate both passed budgets laying out their economic priorities in March.  But instead of going to conference, over the last six months, Republicans in both the House and Senate blocked any budget negotiations – despite the fact that a budget is critical to our economy and America’s hardworking middle class families.  The House GOP Leadership has refused to appoint budget conferees and Senate Republicans have objected to the appointment of budget conferees over in the Senate.  Through their actions, Republicans have blocked any negotiations on the budget with Congressional Democrats and President Obama.  If a budget blueprint had been negotiated, the imminent government shutdown and default could have been avoided.

To advance their ideological agenda, the House GOP has been willing to manufacture budget crises several times since taking control of the House in 2011.  The American people cannot afford a government shutdown or default that will hurt our economy, threaten job creation, and leave our families with less security and our country with less certainty and stability.

2013

February 4: Congress enacts the No Budget, No Pay Act – to stop pay for Members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget — on legislation to suspend the debt limit (PL 113-3).

March 1:  At a bipartisan meeting at the White House, Republican Leaders called for regular order in handling the federal budget going forward.

March 21:  House passed a budget (H.Con. Res. 25), with Democrats offering a responsible alternative.

March 23:  Senate passed a budget (S.Con. Res. 8).

April-September:   For six months now, Republicans have blocked any negotiations on a budget instead of going to conference to work out a compromise under regular order.

  • April 23 – Now:  Senate Democrats have moved to go to conference on the budget 18 times but have been blocked by Republicans, such as Ted Cruz, each and every time. [Huffington Post]

Sen. John McCain said, “I think it’s insane for Republicans, who complained for four years about Harry Reid not having a budget.  And now, we’re not going to agree to conferees. That is beyond comprehension for me.” [CQ, 5/14/13]

  • May 17– Now:  House Democrats have urged Speaker Boehner to request a conference (H.Res. 174) with the Senate to complete work on the budget and used every means available to make that happen.  Three times Republicans refused to consider this resolution to get to conference [Vote #155, Vote #186, Vote #377], so Democrats unified in launching a discharge petition to force consideration of this measure with 196 members signing on to this effort.  [June 20, 2013]

Most of 2013:  House Democrats have offered a responsible, balanced plan for the budget to create good-paying American jobs, stop the GOP austerity cuts, and grow the economy, but Republicans continue to block it consideration.

  • February 2 to September 19, 2013:  GOP has voted 8 times against a balanced plan for the budget that replaces GOP austerity cuts with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases in order to reduce the deficit in a responsible way or against considering this balanced plan.  [Vote #33, Vote #41, Vote #51, Vote #59, Vote #61, Vote #83, Vote #87, Vote #472]

Previous GOP Manufactured Crises

  • Spring 2011:  House GOP Brought Us to Brink of Government Shutdown. First thing House GOP did, after they took control of Congress in 2011, was try to use a must-pass funding bill to impose their ideological agenda, including no funding for Planned Parenthood, Title X, and implementing health reform. Due to GOP intransigence, government came within hours of shutting down.
  • Summer 2011:  House GOP Brought Us to Brink of Default.  House GOP spent months playing brinkmanship on raising the debt limit – with the final deal signed within hours of default.   GOP brinksmanship on the debt limit resulted in the first downgrade of the U.S. credit rating in history and took a toll on the American economy, with the stock market plummeting, consumer confidence dropping to a five-year low, and one of the lowest months of job growth over the last two years.  And this added an estimated $19 billion to the national debt over 10 years due to increased borrowing costs.
  • Fall-Winter 2011:  For Months Threatened A Payroll Tax Increase. In September 2011, the President proposed an extension of the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans. For months, the House GOP refused to act, leaving middle class families uncertain whether their taxes would rise on January 1st. On December 13, they passed a bill full of poison pills unacceptable to Senate. On December 20, the House GOP irresponsibly left town, refusing to pass a Senate-passed two-month extension, with taxes about to go up by $1,000 for the typical family. In face of widespread criticism, Boehner passed the Senate bill by UC.
  • May 2012 through January 1, 2013:  Held Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage to Tax Breaks for Millionaires.   Democrats called for quick action to extend tax cuts for the middle class – giving the middle class certainty that they would not face a tax hike on January 1, 2013.  On July 25, the Senate passed President Obama’s middle income tax cut.  On August 1, House Republicans passed a bill to hold middle class tax cuts hostage to more tax breaks for millionaires.  In December, House Republicans would not even pass a bill that would extend tax cuts for all except those with income over $1 million, leaving a typical family facing a $2,200 tax increase.  On January 1, the House passed the middle class tax cuts 257-167, with the support of only 85 House Republicans.
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