Rep. Huizenga: ‘The Last Time the Senate Passed a Budget, the iPad Didn’t Exist’

February 2, 2012 - 12:22 PM

Rep. Huizenga

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich), left, at a 2010 Capitol news conference. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A hand-full of Republican congressmen and senators,  concerned about what they say is the U.S. Senate’s ongoing failure to pass a budget, have re-introduced a bill designed to force the Senate to vote on a spending blueprint.

The group included Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga. )and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

"You all know what this is; you all have seen it right? Most of us are walking around carrying one. It’s an iPad , which didn’t exist 1,008  days ago when you all last passed a budget,” Huizenga said at a Capitol Hill news conference announcing the introduction of the Honest Budget Act into the House.

The bill, which is sponsored by freshmen Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), is the House version of Senate legislation originally introduced by Sens. Sessions (R-Ala.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) last year. Both House and Senate members were present at the press conference.

The sponsors say that the bill would end budgetary gimmicks.

It contains nine technical proposals that would basically make it harder for Congress to sidestep the rules requiring programs abide by spending limits – including a provision making it harder for Congress to pass appropriations bills before a budget is adopted, and one barring Congress from counting unspent leftover funds as permission to spend the money for other things.

“Right now in Congress, we typically evade spending caps simply by designating something an emergency, this would stop that,” Sen. Portman said.

The bill is also a political move to force the Senate to pass a budget.

“It is truly a shame that we have to come out here and force the hand of the Democrats, by passing a law that says you guys truly do have to present a budget,” Sen. Chambliss said.

Sen. Sessions directly blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the Senate not passing a budget.

“Senator Harry Reid, the democratic leader said it would be foolish for us to pass a budget,” Senator Sessions said. “He didn’t mean that -- and I’ve said this on the floor, he knows I’ve said it -- he didn’t mean that because it’s foolish for America that we would have a budget, he meant for the politics of the Senate.”

Thus far, all of the bill’s co-sponsors, in both the House and Senate, are Republicans; however they range from Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

But Rep. Huizenga said that he has approached Democrats about the bill and that they seem “intrigued” by it.

“It strikes a chord with them as well,” Huizenga said but he added that he thought that everyone in Washington was looking out for political landmines.

However, the bill’s sponsors said they were optimistic about its prospects for being passed with bi-partisan support.