The Corner

GOP Senators Vow No Spending Bills Without a Budget

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, is taking another stand on the Senate floor this week, vowing to raise points of order against appropriations bills (including the upcoming Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill) until the Senate passes a budget, which it has not done in more than two years now. As Sessions pointed out earlier today, federal law requires that a budget be in place before money is appropriated.

“Senate Democrats will not produce a budget — and the White House will not put together an honest plan with real spending cuts. Just more gimmicks, tricks, and games,” he said. “It’s easy to claim deficit reduction as a priority — but if they were actually to put a plan on paper it would become all too clear that their desire is for larger taxes and only meager cuts.”

Sessions also plans to introduce legislation that would increase the vote requirement from 51 to 60 votes needed to overcome the particular point of order he will be raising to further test the Democratic commitment to reckless (and unlawful) spending.

The move against the military spending bill is sure to be controversial — and sure to be exploited disingenuously by the likes of Harry Reid, et al. — but Sessions firmly defended his actions, citing Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who warned that the federal debt is the greatest threat to our national security. “Regardless of my feelings about this legislation, or my high admiration for those who worked on it, I have a duty as the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, during this time of extreme fiscal danger, to oppose cloture on this measure and to raise the point of order should cloture be invoked,” Sessions said. “We were not elected to preside over the financial decline of America. We were not elected to shut down the committees, to shut down debate, to cede our constitutional responsibility to secret meetings and closed-door negotiations.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) joined Sessions in his opposition to allowing appropriations legislation to proceed. “Obviously I have the greatest respect for our military, veterans and their families and want to ensure they have all appropriate resources and are given every benefit our country has promised them,” he said in a statement. “That said, I plan to vote against proceeding to all individual appropriations bills until the Senate passes a budget. Unbelievably, it has been 805 days since a budget has been passed in the Senate, and we absolutely should not be considering any bill to spend federal dollars until we have done the basic job of deciding what appropriate spending levels for the year should be.” 

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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