Just do your job.
That’s the message from some House Republicans to their colleagues in the Senate, and they’re pressing their point by pursuing legislation to make them do just that.
Led by Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R.-N.Y.), the proposed Just Do Your Job Act of 2011 would defund the budget committees and leadership offices for failing to pass a budget.
“If they can’t do their job, that taxpayer money spent on the committee is about as useful as the money we spend to study shrimp on a treadmill” Buerkle said.
“Even the Libyan government, in the middle of a civil war, passed a budget on June 15, 2011,” Buerkle said.
Earlier this spring, the House passed a budget, but the Senate has failed to do so since April 2009.
But the Senate on Wednesday began debating a nonbinding resolution backed by Democrats that calls for shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit.
“It is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1 million or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit-reduction effort,” the bill says.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called the measure “pathetic.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) said Democrats are using the bill as a “political stunt” to “jazz up the activist Left.”
“They’re spending us into oblivion,” Hatch said. “I want him [President Obama] to be successful, but he’s not going to be successful by taxing the daylights out of everyone around here.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said Republicans would rather “tank the economy” than raise taxes.
“It will lead to a fiscal Armageddon,” Schumer said.
Republicans have balked at raising taxes, and say Congress should focus its attention on cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending.
“We don’t have a problem with revenues,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.). “The problem is not the debt and deficit. The problem is Congress. They lack a work ethic to roll up our sleeves and really dig into it.”
“The problem is we are wasteful,” Coburn said.
“We’ve created this monster, out-of-control government. It’s so frustrating we won’t eliminate the easy things, the things that won’t have an impact on 99% of Americans,” Coburn said.
As an example, Coburn cited hundreds of duplicative programs in the Agriculture, Interior, Labor and Transportation Departments.
Sen. John Thune, (R.-S.D.) said it’s been 798 days since the Senate passed a budget. “I hope we can get a budget in front of the Senate, but this sham of a resolution is certainly not the way to do that,” Thune said.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are still deciding whether to move forward with a budget plan proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
One Senate staffer familiar with the proposal called it an “outline to craft speeches and talking points from, but missing enough details so it can escape the grasp of accountability.”
“The level of tax increases Sen. Conrad has consistently hinted he wants is way too much for Democrats who want to run for reelection in swing states, so it is hard to see this being a plan of specifics that will be voted on anytime soon,” the staffer said.