As a third temporary spending bill expires next week, the attention of Capitol Hill will once again be focused on producing a permanent spending bill to keep the federal government open and operating. The threat of a government shutdown would not exist had the Democratically controlled 111th Congress passed a budget for this fiscal year. In fact, not only did they fail to pass a budget, but for the for the first time in the history of the budget-making process, last year’s Congress failed to even vote on a budget. And now, even as the consequences of their failure are just days a way, the Democrats have still failed to agree on a plan that cuts spending.
Thirty-eight days ago, on February 19, the House of Representatives passed a budget that would keep the federal government open for the rest of this fiscal year. Responding to the overwhelming mandate from the American people delivered last November to cut federal spending, that House budget cut $61 billion in spending from 2010 levels. The Democrats then produced a plan that they said “cut spending,” but even The Washington Post Fact Checker found no real cuts.