By Walter Alarkon - 04/16/10 08:00 PM EDT
Budget groups pressed lawmakers not to skip a budget resolution this year, a move that House Democrats have considered.
"Neither filing taxes nor passing a federal budget should be optional," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "Taxpayers face stiff penalties for their failure to file, but members of Congress face no such punishment when they fail to pass a budget. Without a budget, the country is flying blind."
House Democrats haven't committed to passing a budget resolution this year.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said this week it would be difficult to steer a budget in the House because it's an election year and because of the dire fiscal situation. The resolution, which isn't binding, is used to set discretionary spending caps and lay out the majority's estimate of the fiscal picture in the short- and medium-term.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday the plan is to bring a budget resolution to the floor.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and The Concord Coalition, another fiscal responsibility group, said skipping a budget would send a bad message about Congress' willingness to take on deficits, which the Congressional Budget Office projects to average nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.
"Now more than ever, we need a budget resolution that will set fiscally responsible revenue, spending, and deficit reduction targets and include credible budget enforcement mechanisms needed to meet them," said Robert Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. "The numbers will look bad but there should be no such thing as a deficit too big to face.”