Congress operating without a budget resolution

This isn't too surprising.

If the House does not pass a first version of the budget resolution, it will be the first time since the implementation of the 1974 Budget Act, which governs the modern congressional budgeting process.

The practical consequences of failing to produce a federal budget for next year are about the same as they are for a family that doesn’t set a plan for income and spending: Congress doesn’t need a budget to tax or spend, but enforcing discipline is harder without one. And, like a family that misses out on efficiencies because it hasn’t taken a hard look at its finances, Congress can’t use reconciliation rules to cut the deficit if the House and the Senate don’t adopt the same budget.

But there are political consequences to the budget conundrum, too — and for Democrats, they’re of the “damned if you, damned if you don’t” variety.

Republicans are certain to castigate the majority Democrats if they fail to put a fiscal blueprint in place amid a public backlash against spending and a torrent of dire warnings from economic experts about the consequences of imbalanced federal books.

But they’ll also call Democrats on the carpet if they approve a new budget that includes more spending, higher deficits or increased taxes.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the government’s books must be put in order through tax increases or slashing spending for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off — until the day they cannot be put off anymore,” Bernanke said. . . .

More confirmation from Steny Hoyer. Apparently it is the fault of the Bush deficits.

If Democrats can’t pass a budget it won’t wholly be on their shoulders, Hoyer said. The “deep debt” brought on by the economic policies of the Bush administration still linger over the budget process – 90 percent of the debt is a “direct consequence of those policies,” the No. 2 House Democrat said. . . .

Here is another explanation from Congressman Hoyer:

"It's difficult to pass budgets in election years because they reflect what the [fiscal] status is."

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