If you needed any more more glaring evidence that the White House and Democrats in the Senate may not be as committed to passing a budget resolution as their Republican rivals, White House Chief of Staff and former OMB Director Jack Lew gave it to you Sunday. With the President's budget set for delivery this Monday, Lew appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, This Week and State of the Union. On both CNN and NBC Lew made a gaffe that has left stunned Republicans in disbelief that such a high-ranking White House official could, whether intentionally or not, mislead the country on budget law.
While being questioned by CNN's Candy Crowley in regards to remaks made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicating that for the third straight year Senate Democrats did not plan on passing a budget, Lew responded with a statement that is patently false.
CROWLEY: “I want to read for our viewers something that Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrat Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, who said, ‘We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done, we don’t need to do it'...."
LEW: “.....He’s not saying that they shouldn’t pass a budget. But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can't get 60 votes without bipartisan support. So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”
The Filibuster is a popular target and scapegoat for the Obama administration but in this case it does not apply. In accordance with the Congressional Budget Control Act of 1974, a budget, under law, requires only 51 votes to pass the Senate—not 60. As former director of the Office of Management and Budget (the top budget post in the administration) and current Chief of Staff, one would assume that Lew would be aware of budget law and the official must have misspoke on State of the Union.
However, Lew said the same thing again on NBC's Meet the Press:
While House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan has been actively working with Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon on a budget that includes a bipartisan plan to deal with health care and Medicare reform, the White House and Democratic leaders in the Senate look set on pushing a political, rather than practical, proposal to deal with out-of-control Washington spending going into this year's election.
Ranking Republican Member on the Senate Budget Committee Sen. Jeff Sessions recently said in a statement while describing the shirking of responsibility from the Senate’s leaders: “By refusing to lay out a budget plan for public examination the Democrat Senate has forfeited the high privilege to lead this chamber.”