Blue Dogs to House Budget Committee: Produce a Budget

Several members of the House Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) last week calling for the committee to produce a budget resolution for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.

The letter points out how Congress increasingly fails to budget. Although Congress has often recently failed to complete the process, the House Budget Committee nearly always manages to take the initial step of passing a budget. Since 1999 the House Budget Committee has only failed to pass a budget twice, and once was last year. The idea that a majority party may not even pass a budget out of committee this year, let alone consider a budget on the House floor, is a clear abdication of responsibility. Passing and following a budget is one of the most basic duties of lawmakers. It is ironic that the House Budget Committee is holding a hearing tomorrow on Congress' Power of the Purse because the legislative branch's power over spending is an important issue that the committee will undermine if they fail to set fiscal goals and put forward a budget.

The Blue Dog letter rightly points out that despite passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 — the budget deal that significantly increased caps on discretionary spending by $296 billion through FY 2021 and added $1.7 trillion to projected debt over ten years — the committee still needs to pass a budget. A budget resolution provides the foundation where Congress can set reasonable fiscal goals and consider plans for how to raise revenue and allocate spending in the fact of trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently laid out a number of budget resolution principles for FY 2021 that would help Congress establish a framework for setting these important fiscal goals and national priorities.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) has said the Senate Budget Committee will do a budget this year. The House Budget Committee should do their job and produce a budget for FY 2021.

We applaud the members of the Blue Dog Coalition for sending this letter and pointing out the importance of budgeting.