Debt Soared $5.5 Trillion Since Last Senate Budget
By John Merline, Investor's Business Daily
If you want a sense of just how massive the nation's debt problem is, consider this: The U.S. added $226 billion in new debt in just the 35 days since President Obama missed the legal deadline to submit his budget.
That's more than the government will spend this year on education, homeland security, law enforcement, housing aid, energy and the environment, combined.
A 1921 law requires the president to submit his budget plan to Congress on the first Monday in February, but Obama so far hasn't produced one, and the White House says it won't release its plan to get the nation's deficits and debt under control until sometime in April.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, haven't produced an annual budget — also required by law — since 2009. Over that time, the nation's debt has climbed $5.5 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.
Senate Budget Committee Democrats are now promising to introduce a budget plan this week.
Obama initially claimed the holdup on his fiscal year 2014 budget was the last-minute "fiscal cliff" deal, which required them to redo their budget figures.
That agreement let the Bush tax cuts expire for people with incomes over $400,000, while making the rest of the lower Bush tax rates permanent. It also extended unemployment insurance, put off the automatic sequester spending cuts by two months, and let the Social Security payroll tax break expire.
"Because these issues were not resolved until the American Taxpayer Relief Act was enacted on Jan. 2, 2013, the administration was forced to delay some of its FY 2014 budget preparations, which in turn will delay the budget's submission to Congress," Jeffrey Zients, a director at the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in mid-January.
But the fiscal cliff deal delayed by just one day the Congressional Budget Office's annual report, which also had to account for all those fiscal cliff changes. The CBO budget and economic outlook report came out on Feb. 5.
The budget holdup comes as Obama and Democrats try to figure out how to deal with the nation's debt crisis while protecting their favored spending programs and claiming only to want to raise taxes on the "rich."
As the Hill reported this week, "disputes over tax cuts, spending reductions and entitlement reform all present challenges to Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray and Majority Leader Harry Reid."
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