Skipping a budget resolution this year, a move House Democrats are considering, would be unprecedented.
The House has never failed to pass an annual budget resolution since the current budget rules were put into place in 1974, according to a Congressional Research Service report. The budget resolution is a non-binding document whose main purposes are to set discretionary spending caps for the coming fiscal year, lay out the framework of the majority's fiscal policy and create the option of easing legislation through the Senate via fast-track reconciliation procedures.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday that it will be difficult to pass a budget because of the mid-term elections and large deficit projections. He noted that Congress didn't pass a final resolution that could pass both the House and Senate in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2006, when Republicans controlled at least one chamber.
House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) are working on budget proposals that they plan to move in their respective committees soon, Conrad said Wednesday.
House Republicans said they would pounce on House Democrats for ignoring the budget this year, when the deficit is expected to be about as large as the $1.4 trillion budget shortfall of 2009.
"The deficit was over $65 billion in March and the Pelosi/Reid solution is to abandon their responsibilities by throwing the federal budget out the window," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). "A real profile in courage, isn’t it?"
While the House has always passed at least its version of the budget annually for the past 35 years, the Senate didn't pass a resolution in 2002.