Senate may pass a federal budget this year!

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 23, 201

Stop the presses: We may actually have a federal budget by the end of 2013!

This shocking news came from the office of newly-appointed Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who said this morning that developing the blueprint for a federal budget is her top priority. For those of you who have been counting, it has been 1,365 days since the Senate last passed a budget. On the contrary, the Republican-led House has passed a budget each year during that time period.

“I’ve been discussing this path with my colleagues in the weeks since the year-end deal before I officially became chairman of this committee, and now that Congress is back in session, we are ready to get to work,”Murray said in a statement this morning.

Murray’s statement comes on the heels of a vow by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this weekend,  who vowed that the Senate would pass a budget as long as it includes ‘tax reform’ (i.e. tax hikes) to raise revenue for paying off the federal debt.

Granted, any words coming out of Murray’s mouth related to the federal budget should be taken with a grain of salt. Washington’s senior senator served as co-chair of the ‘Debt Supercommittee’ in 2011, which memorably failed to prevent the federal government from being forced to raise the federal debt ceiling and resulted in the nation almost falling off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ earlier this month.

In addition, Murray has vowed that she will only press forward with this plan if House Republicans stop their “hostage taking” and agree to work with her in drafting the budget.

“So if Republicans are truly interested in moving this debate back into the Budget Committees and back to regular order then they ought to actually deliver on that rhetoric,” she said. “That means putting a stop to the debt limit hostage-taking, ending the constant brinksmanship, and truly engaging in an honest effort to work with us toward the balanced and bipartisan budget deal the American people expect and deserve.”

Murray’s counterpart in the House, former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), is believed to be pursuing a budget that will balance our current federal budget within the next 10 years, mostly through drastic spending cuts.

Today the House passed a bill that will suspend the nation’s borrowing limit through May and imposes the requirement that both chambers must pass a federal budget by April 15 or all federal lawmakers will see their 2013 pay docked, giving Murray a new incentive to pass a budget.

This piece has been updated to include information on the House debt ceiling vote.

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