Inouye also urged his colleagues in the Senate to hash out their differences over fiscal year 2011 spending or risk ceding their power of the purse, granted by the Constitution, to the president.

The Senate on Wednesday defeated two continuing resolution proposals for Fiscal Year 2011 – one offered by the GOP-led House that would have cut $57 billion from current spending levels, and one from the Democrat-controlled Senate, that would have cut current levels by approximately $6 billion. 

“Both sides need to give a little bit and in so doing it is my hope we will be able to get the appropriations process back on track,” Inouye said. “Certainly no member wants to explain to his or her constituents that we have failed yet again to responsibly fund the government or that we ceded our constitutional authority to the administration.”

Inouye was referring to both the inability of Congress to pass a FY2011 budget, and the FY2010 budget process in which Congress sent an enormous omnibus bill to the president in the 11th hour rather than debating and passing individual reauthorizations bills.