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House Democrats Plan to “Deem” Budget Resolution

We haven’t had much discussion of one of the more normal pieces of Congressional business this year – the budget. President Obama sent one up to the Hill back in January. But like everything else, Blue Dogs have choked on the cost. Specifically, they don’t want to ratify a budget that shows a deficit over one trillion dollars in an election year. They’d rather pretty much the exact same deficit – actually a bigger one – go through by doing nothing. What really matters to them is the vote with a number that can be used in Republican advertising, not so much the deficit itself.

House Budget Committee chair John Spratt (D-SC) thinks he’s found a solution to the problem, which would allow the House to vote on a budget without voting on the deficit for that budget, somehow.

House Democrats are readying an alternative budget measure that would set next year’s spending levels without requiring a vote on deficits.

House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.) said the alternative would be the “functional equivalent” of a full-fledged budget. But because it won’t be a traditional budget resolution, it will be silent on future deficits, which are expected to average nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.

The hoops you have to jump through to please these skittish politicians. Guess what, your Republican opponent will say you adding a trillion dollars to the debt – if you’re lucky. What’s more likely is that he’ll accuse you for a ten trillion-dollar debt without citing any statistic.

Also, didn’t the Democrats already cross this bridge? This alternative budget resolution is exactly the same “deeming resolution” that they wanted to use in the health care debate, until the conservative noise machine flipped out and they passed the bill under a more regular process. There’s no really getting around this kind of thing. You can choose to be irresponsible or you can do your job and come up with a budget that matches the crisis in joblessness and fragile economy we face.

The plan seems to be to attach this budget resolution to the war supplemental. This will probably unite Republicans against it and provide an opportunity for House liberals to provide meaningful measures in the bill as a condition for their votes, something they have repeatedly failed to do when they have leverage of this type (so don’t hold your breath).

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David Dayen

David Dayen