Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Eric Rinerson once again has his facts wrong on budget issues. The truth is the Senate did adopt a budget last year. It was contained in the Budget Control Act, enacted last August as a result of bipartisan debt limit negotiations. The Budget Control Act received strong support from Democrats and Republicans, with all three members of the North Dakota delegation voting for it. It was passed by the Senate, passed by the House, and signed by the President. It is now the law of the land.
In many ways, the Budget Control Act was even more extensive than a traditional budget. Importantly, it has the force of law, unlike a budget resolution that is not signed by the president. It set discretionary spending caps for 10 years, instead of the one year normally set in a budget resolution. It strengthened budget enforcement. And it created a "Super Committee" process to address entitlement and tax reforms, and backed that process up with a $1.2 trillion sequester.
Fortunately, the Budget Control Act rejected the budget plan passed separately in the Republican-controlled House last year. That House plan was an ideological document, completely out of step with North Dakota priorities. It proposed slashing funding for agriculture, eliminating Medicare and Medicaid as we know them, giving huge new tax breaks to multi-millionaires, and adding trillions of dollars to our deficits and debt.
We can and must do better. We need to build on the deficit reduction included in the Budget Control Act and come together on a comprehensive and balanced debt reduction agreement. That is the only way we will solve the nation's long-term budget challenges. And that is where I will continue to focus my efforts.