GOP Budget leaders say lack of Senate budget a failure of 'moral leadership'

Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Friday that the failure of the Senate to pass a budget resolution in more than three years represents a moral failure, given the record level of deficits and debt.

"Never before has our nation needed a budget and a long-term financial plan as badly as it needs one now," the two GOP budget leaders said in a joint statement. "The Congressional Budget Office stated this week that the federal government is on track to run another trillion-dollar deficit this year and our debt will continue to explode with this continued lack of leadership.

"In addition to huge deficits, we face a $4 trillion tax increase at the end of this year and a sequester that Defense Secretary [Leon] Panetta said will 'do catastrophic damage to the military.' Responsible and moral leadership requires the Senate to meet its legal obligation to pass a budget and to begin to address the fiscal crisis that is fast approaching our nation."

Sessions and Ryan released their statement to mark Saturday, which will be the 1,200th day since the Senate last passed a budget resolution.

"Tomorrow marks another disappointing record for the United States Senate: Senate Majority Leader [Harry] Reid [Nev.] and his Democrat Conference will have gone an unprecedented 1,200 days without adopting a budget plan as required by law," they said. "Not only have they failed to adopt a budget but, with America under threat of financial calamity, they have refused to even present a plan for public scrutiny."

Democrats have said last year's debt-ceiling agreement that capped discretionary spending for the next decade is just as good as a budget. But Sessions and Ryan noted that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) tried to move a budget plan this year, and was "shut down" by Reid. They also noted that Reid said in 2011 that it would be "foolish" to present a budget.

"He refuses to disclose who he plans to tax and how he plans to spend taxpayers' money," they said of Reid.

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