Tomorrow will mark a sad milestone in the history of the United States Senate: the 1,000th day since Senate Democrats last offered a budget plan to the American people. Senate Democrats abandoned their official duty to prioritize Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars and tackle our nation’s most pressing economic challenges — dealing a painful blow to fiscal progress that may be felt for some time.
This contrasts sharply with the record of the House Republicans. Last spring, the new House Majority publicly produced a budget plan before the nation, brought it forward in committee, and passed it on the floor. The budget’s principled solutions honestly confront our nation’s most difficult challenges, putting the budget on a path to balance and the country on a path to prosperity.
The president and his party’s leaders have yet to detail a credible budget plan to prevent the fiscal crisis that awaits us should we continue down the current path to debt, doubt, and decline. Such a crisis would threaten the economic security, health security, and retirement security of every American. If the president wishes to begin a genuine dialogue with the American people in tomorrow’s State of the Union address, then he must hold his own party accountable for its dogged refusal to produce a plan to prevent this crisis and lift this cloud of uncertainty from the economy. The president must also deliver what he has so far refused: serious reforms to change our debt course and prevent fiscal disaster.
We remain disappointed in the Senate Democrats’ decision to give up on an essential responsibility of governing, and we sincerely hope 2012 will not mark the third consecutive year that Senate Democrats skip the budget process altogether. Nor will it be credible or acceptable for them to present a phony budget plan that pretends to make changes but in reality merely keeps spending on its current trajectory. Real reforms, real spending control, and a real change in the status quo are the minimum obligations of elected leaders in these times of uncertainty and distress. Where the president and his party have failed to confront the greatest challenges of our time, Republicans in the House and Senate will continue to work for solutions to ensure that government can keep its promises, take less from hardworking families and businesses, and create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity.
— U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama serves as the ranking Republican of the Senate Budget Committee. U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee.