Republicans vow to pass annual budgets if they win back Senate

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) pledged Tuesday that Republicans would pass a budget every year if they win control of the Senate in November.

“I don't think the law says 'Pass a budget unless it's hard,' so I think there's no question that we would take up our responsibility," McConnell told reporters. "We would be passing a budget.

"Every year," he added.

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Republicans on both sides of the Capitol held press conferences Tuesday to criticize Senate Democrats for going 1,000 days without passing a budget.

“I do believe that a party that is incapable now for 1,000 days of producing a budget does not deserve to be the leader of Congress,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

Sessions said Republicans would not shirk on passing a budget, even though he acknowledged it could be difficult to muster 51 Republican votes for one.

“This will be the biggest challenge the Senate would have initially, to produce a budget,” Sessions said, predicting the first 100 days of a Senate Republican majority.

“You would have the opportunity to change the debt course of America, to put the country on a sound path, and it would be a huge responsibility,” Sessions said. 


Sessions said Senate Republicans “should” pass a budget every single year if they take over the upper chamber.

In 2004, the Senate and House — both controlled by Republicans — failed to agree on a joint budget resolution, but each chamber passed its own blueprint.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who offered a Senate Republican budget plan last year, said Republicans must pass a budget every year if they oust Democrats from the majority.

“I think it’s important to do that. It’s one of the fundamental responsibilities of the government to lay out a blueprint for our spending, our revenue, the size of our revenues, how we’re going to get that under control,” he said. “Whoever is in the majority ought to take up a budget, that’s part of governing.”

Senate Democrats say the criticism is unfair because Congress passed spending caps for 2012 and 2013 when it forged a deal to raise the debt limit.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) argued Tuesday that the Budget Control Act passed in August had the effect of a budget resolution.

"When our colleagues come out here and say we have not passed a budget in 1,000 days ... wow," Conrad exclaimed from the Senate floor. "Could they have really missed ... the consideration of the Budget Control Act? Did they really miss all of that or are they saying something they know not to be true?"

—Josiah Ryan contributed to this article.