There is no budget currently before Congress, because for the fourth time in five years, and the third year in a row, the Administration of Barack Hussein Obama has failed to send one to Congress by the February 1 statutory deadline.
Missing four out of five? How does that stack up? Even Ronald Reagan missed the deadline only one time out of eight. So it is obvious we have a new low bar being set here. But does anyone in Washington care???
Not by all the evidence: there has been nary a press conference held by either the Republicans or the Democrats in Congress over this latest snub by the Obama Administration.
According to the Constitution, all measures to raise revenues must "originate" in the House of Representatives. But budgets are not measures to "raise revenues", so they may be introduced in either the House or the Senate.
The trouble is, the Senate has failed to pass any budget presented to it -- whether by the Administration, the House, or by individual Senators -- ever since 2009. Composed of Democrats the entire time, the Senate Majority clearly has zero interest in limiting government spending through any kind of budget.
So our Chief Executive doesn't care about having a budget, and our Senate majority Democrats don't care about having a budget. Budgets impose limits, which they instinctively avoid. They are happy to continue to spend and spend without limits, as long as they can muscle the House Republicans to approve their bills on pain of embarrassment and universal condemnation for being spoilsports.
And those are powerful incentives -- because, as we have seen, the House continually knuckles under to demands to (a) pass "continuing resolutions," which allow the government to keep going at the present (insolvent) levels without a budget; (b) raise the debt ceiling, to enable the government to borrow more and more as tax revenues decline in a tanking economy; and (c) to add to the deficit through endless "pork" provisions tacked on to any emergency or other necessity measure which simply must pass to avert calamity, such as to assist recovery from Hurricane Katrina, or Hurricane Sandy.
How long will Americans let these charades continue? Apparently as long as there is a punchbowl for them to imbibe from -- as witness their decision to re-elect the only President ever to fail to submit a budget three times out of four in his first four years, and who promptly broke his oath of office just eleven days after swearing to it.
Given those facts, what is a responsible Republican member of the House (or Senate) to do?
Well, I am glad you asked that question. Because there is only one response that makes sense, and at the same time fulfills that member's sworn duty to uphold the Constitution -- which, I remind you, requires that bills to raise revenues originate in the (Republican-controlled) House.
The response is simplicity itself, and completely impervious to any kind of media attack. Each Republican member of the House should join in a simple House Resolution: there will be no more bills originating in the House to raise revenues, and there will be no more signing on to other bills to continue the status quo, until there is a budget from the Senate and the President (i.e., both must agree on a common budget) for the House to consider.
The days of the House passing its own budget, unless there is first a proposal before it at least from the President, are over. There is no point in bidding against oneself when all the other parties are sitting back and waiting for you to make the first offer, only then to say: "That's not enough. We won't make any counteroffer until you come back with more."
Let the media try to storm and rage about "partisan" and "uncooperative" Republicans. The answer is simply this:
"We are not being partisan, we are fulfilling our sworn duties to preserve and protect the Constitution. Without any budget, our colleagues on the Hill and in the White House are free to do without the Constitution, and that is not what they each swore to do when they assumed their offices.
"So let our Democratic colleagues, and let President Obama, demonstrate that they meant what they said when they took their oaths of office: let them give us a budget that enables us to live within our means, under the Constitution."
Throwing it back on their oaths puts the Democrats in an impossible quandary. Either they have to show how five years of dereliction meet the requirements of their oaths of office, or else they have to claim that the Constitution does not require them to produce a budget and stay within the government's means. (Sure, and the Founders set up a government that had no restraints on its ability to spend money -- tell it to the judge, on your way to prison.)
If Republicans will simply stick to the principles behind their oaths of office -- and hold the President and all other members of Congress to the same standard -- they will have an unassailable platform.
Unless we have reached the point where a majority wants to jettison the Constitution, in favor of voting themselves ever and ever more benefits.
In which case, America: you have consigned yourself, as Ronald Reagan once said of Communism, to "the dustbin of history."
And in which case, America, be sure to do your level best to like it there -- among all the offal, ordure and scrabbling scavengers.