“Washington” is too wide a term. The Republicans have a budget. The Democrats don’t. The president doesn’t. Consider the fact that the debt-ceiling deal expires right after Election Day — two months after Election Day. This is no chronological accident. It’s a deliberate result of the policy that Obama pursued in settling the debt-ceiling dispute. Last August he timed it and he said “I need a long-term solution.” What does he mean by “long-term”? Something that will not come up again until after Election Day.
All of this is a punt by a president who refuses to talk about what he wants to do… until he is supposedly reelected. Instead what he has is a Republican budget which is serious. It makes choices. It gives him a target, and he attacks it.
I think it’s [the lack of a budget is] completely a result of the abdication of any responsible action by the Democrat in the White House, and in the Senate, which now on April 29 will have gone three years since it submitted a budget.
And the budget is a blueprint for the government to choose a set of priorities. Republicans have made them, the Democrats haven’t. And they want to run on no program, no future, no explanation about what will be done. It’s simply [to run] against the Republicans.
The president’s defense is to say “I can’t deal with this, Washington can’t in an election year.” What about last year, and the year before and the year before? He has been in office for three years, all of which were non-presidential election years. He did nothing on tax reform or entitlement reform. That’s why we’re going to hit the wall within a three-week window in December when people — many of whom will have lost an election — will make decisions that will last for a decade.
As for Democrats’ [Kent Conrad] proposal of Simpson-Bowles [principles] as a budget, it’s not going to wash. It’s not a hearing, it’s not a budget. It’s a farce.