A growing number of Senate Democrats are anxious about the lack of a Democratic budget and the unusually slow legislative agenda, creating another headache for Majority Leader Harry Reid as he tries to protect his majority ahead of a daunting election year.
“On the budget front, I’m not a happy camper around here,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein told POLITICO. “I think we need to have a budget that we stand by.”
“In the states, you can’t do this in the states — you’ve got to move,” said West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a former governor up for reelection next year. “We’re hoping we will.”
Not having a budget, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor said, “makes it harder to do things that we just need to do — there are people talking about an education bill, a highway bill — a lot of other things you just don’t know how much you have to spend.”
“Of course I’m concerned about [the lack of a budget], because the law does set out a process, an orderly process, but the politics and the partisanship [have] made that existing statutory framework unworkable,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). “The longer you wait to deal with the debt, the harder it is politically.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said if there’s no budget blueprint to base spending levels on, “you get out of regular order and into a discussion between the leadership and the White House on what they want to do,” potentially making it harder to enact the appropriations bills that set funding and policy priorities across government.