Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Rich Lowry's column ("Bravo, Mr. Chairman," April 25) repeats a favorite Republican talking point, that Democrats haven't passed a budget. It's a misleading claim that doesn't come close to telling the whole story.
Last year, instead of a budget resolution, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, an actual law.
That law is the budget for this year and next. The Budget Control Act states clearly that it "shall apply in the same manner as for a concurrent resolution on the budget."
This new budget law set strict spending limits for the next 10 years, far more than the one year usually set in a typical budget resolution. Those spending caps will result in $900 billion in cuts.
The Budget Control Act also created a Special Committee to reform Medicare, Social Security, and the tax system.
But because that Special Committee did not reach agreement on reform proposals, there will be an additional $1.2 trillion of spending cuts, starting in January. That's the so-called sequester.
So do the math. The Budget Control Act brings more than $2 trillion of total spending cuts. It's the biggest package of cuts in the history of the United States. And it's already the law of the land.
A law is much stronger than any budget resolution. A budget resolution is purely an internal Congressional document. It never goes to the President for his signature. A law, on the other hand as you know, is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. That's what the Budget Control Act is it's a law.
When someone says the Senate hasn't passed a budget in more than a thousand days, what they're not telling you is that something else was done. An actual law was passed that is much stronger than any budget resolution.
So, there you have it; the whole story. Now you are armed with the truth