Opinion | Politics

Mark Trahant: Senate is best hope for Indian Country budget

"Later today we’ll find out if the Senate is going to take even baby steps to limit filibuster (now at the point where a Senator only has to threaten a filibuster to stop legislation unless there are 60 votes).

But on the issue of austerity, the irony is that the Senate represents the best hope going forward for a balanced approach to how budgets are cut.

Congressional budgets are a relatively modern enterprise. Before the 1970s, the federal budget was presented by the President and then Congress passed appropriation bills for each agency.

But that changed because President Nixon would not spend all of the money appropriated by Congress. “Congress was concerned about the unprecedented scale of the Nixon Administration’s application of this power,” says a paper from the House Budget Committee. “This action also arguably circumvented the veto process to block acts of Congress. Hence a significant component of budget reform was its restriction on the President’s impoundment authority.”

In other words: Congress started writing budgets to spend more money, not less."

Get the Story:
Murray says she’s eager to contrast the Senate budget with those from the House (Mark Trahant 1/24)

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