03.29.2013 1

No Budget No Pay was a failure

By Adam Bitely — Another Washington, D.C. gimmick has failed.

The “No Budget, No Pay” act aimed to force the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in four years. While successful at doing that, that’s about all this effort accomplished. And the Senate budget has proven to be meaningless in the scheme of things.

The whole scheme, which Boehner and crew turned into a hashtag #NoBudgetNoPay, was an effort to put Democrats on the record supporting increased taxes and more spending. But the cost of showing was a suspension of the debt ceiling and no spending cuts.

Robert Romano, Senior Editor of ALG News, used historical facts to show budget cuts are most likely to occur during continuing resolution debates, debt ceiling fights and government shutdowns. As Romano reported, the only years when there were discretionary budget cuts were 2012, 2011, 2010, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, and 1986. Further, he says that you almost never see cuts come through normal appropriations processes.

In the most recent episodes, Romano stated, “At least three of those years (2010-2012) were in years when Congress was budgeting by continuing resolution, not appropriations. Much of the recent decrease was ‘stimulus’ spending expiring. But there were also reductions in budget authority achieved in the March 2011 continuing resolution, and during the sequester that passed in August 2011. It should also be noted that the nominally balanced budgets of the late-1990’s, although the debt was still increasing at the time, were achieved under the threat of government shutdowns.”

It was in this context that Republicans abandoned their strategy of using the continuing resolution and debt ceiling as leverage to force Democrats to the table to hammer out spending cuts.

But most in Washington, D.C. do not understand when they are successful at cutting the government. Boehner claimed in a March 13 interview with Sean Hannity that his first couple rounds of budget negotiations in 2011 and 2012 were somehow unsuccessful.

Oddly enough, by using the continuing resolution and debt ceiling debates those were the only rounds where he got any cuts at all. Abandoning that strategy — which he has done so far in 2013 — has led to no reductions of significance and a suspension of the debt ceiling allowing the treasury to borrow at will.

Boehner hails the failed “No Budget, No Pay” as an example of GOP success. In a memo to House Republicans circulated by Boehner, he says “From #NoBudgetNoPay to Leader Cantor’s #MakingLifeWork initiative to last week’s passage of our Path to Prosperity budget, we’ve used our limited power in Washington to maximum effect, and shown the Democratic majority what leadership looks like.”

If this is what leadership looks like, then striving for mediocrity must be the pinnacle of success.

Those supporting “No Budget, No Pay” believed they would force the Senate to take decisive action in passing a budget that Republicans and Democrats could work with. But anyone that knew anything about how government works could see that the strategy was destined to fall flat on its face — which it did.

The failure of “No Budget, No Pay” was simple. House Republicans pass a budget out of the house. Senate Democrats pass a budget out of the Senate. And the “No Pay” crisis that loomed was averted. In fact, it was averted with time to spare — a rare feat in D.C. No one could claim that either side was engaging in brinksmanship on this issue.

If Boehner and Republicans want to cut spending they need to drop the gimmicks and fight the fights. Rolling over to Democrats and handing Obama a suspended debt ceiling does not result in a reduction of spending. And threatening the Senate to pass a budget that is meaningless in the debate does nothing either.

If Boehner and the GOP have any interest in stopping the mounting debt crisis that they are aiding and abetting, then they need to get serious instead of playing up gimmicks. #NoBudgetNoPay might play well on Twitter, but it does nothing helpful to stem the government’s spending addiction.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow NetRightDaily on Twitter at @NetRightDaily.

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