Conrad: Chance of Doing Budget ‘Fading’

Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:48pm

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad said Tuesday that he is considering throwing in the towel on passing a budget resolution this year and may instead try and attach a yearly spending cap to the war supplemental next week.

“I’ve told my staff we’ve got to look at all options because it appears that the chance of doing a budget resolution in both chambers is fading,” the North Dakota Democrat said. He blamed both the lengthy Senate debate on the financial reform bill and an uncertain path forward for it in the House. “You can see this bill has taken far more floor time than was anticipated, and we’re getting these mixed signals from the House, and so I think it is time to look at all options, including a deeming resolution.”

Conrad noted that the only time in the past decade that a joint budget resolution was enacted in an election year was in 2008, and he said Democrats face a difficult task of educating the public on budget issues.

“This is an extremely challenging time because what makes perfect sense in the longer run makes much less sense in the short run,” he said. “That is, the economy is still weak; you’ve got to be very careful not to snuff out a recovery. At the same time, we’ve got to be pivoting in the medium term and longer term to deal with the deficit and debt. And that sounds like Washington double talk to people. Unfortunately, it happens to be the reality of how you deal with an economic downturn.”