After weeks of careful deliberation, Roll Call reports that incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) has directed committee staff to craft a budget this year:
Ultimately, Murray judged that a budget was worth doing — a choice other Democratic leaders supported her on. So when House Republicans decided last week to try to force the Senate to pass a spending blueprint for the first time in three years, Democrats were ready to say yes. And on Wednesday, Murray made it official, announcing she would seek to devise a budget and saying the committee is "ready to get to work."
According to its website, the Senate Budget Committee is "responsible for drafting Congress' annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the Federal Government."
Gretchen Hamel, executive director of the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group Public Notice, slammed Murray in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, criticizing her seeming lack of urgency in carrying out the committee’s primary responsibility.
"It’s stunning that the individual most responsible for passing a budget in the Senate is apparently unclear of why that job is important," Hamel said. "It shouldn’t take three seconds, let alone three weeks, to understand that continuing to spend unchecked isn’t how any government should operate."
Committee staffers appear to be looking forward to a new face at the helm despite Sen. Murray’s equivocation in deciding whether or not to pass a budget.
Roll Call quotes an anonymous Democratic aide saying that the previous budget chairman, North Dakota Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad "sucked at managing bills."
It is unclear what work the Committee is actually performing during the more than 1,300 days since the Senate passed its most recent budget,
Meanwhile, the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the fourth straight year, increasing the federal debt by $5.3 trillion.