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WH Chief Of Staff Lies About Budget Gridlock

Some shocking journalism from the fact-checker Glenn Kessler, at the Washington Post:

Jack Lew’s misleading claim about the Senate’s failure to pass a budget resolution

By Glenn Kessler, Published: February 12 2012

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 Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed. And I think he was reflecting the reality of that that could be a challenge.” –White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Feb. 12. 2012

Newly-named White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew was not only recently budget director for President Obama; he was also the budget director for former President Bill Clinton. So when he speaks about the budget process, you would think he speaks with authority.

That’s why his comment on CNN jumped out at us. He also said something similar on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked about the number of days since Senate Democrats passed a budget plan. (1,019). Lew’s response: “One of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60, not 50, votes to pass something.”

The Facts

The House and Senate every spring are supposed to pass a budget resolution, which also does not have the force of law but guides the amount of money available to the Appropriations Committees, in addition to setting parameters for tax and entitlement legislation…

That said, Lew is completely wrong when he claims that 60 votes are needed to “pass a budget in the Senate.” As he well knows, a budget resolution is one of the few things that are not subject to a filibuster. In fact, that is one reason why a bill based on reconciliation instructions cannot be filibustered.

You don’t even need 50 votes, just a simple majority. Here are a few of the recent close votes for the budget resolution, as listed by CRS: 48-45 (2009 budget); 51-49 (2006); 51-50 (2004); 50-48 (2001).

Senate Democrats may have reasons for failing to pass a budget plan—such as wanting to avoid casting politically inconvenient votes—but a GOP filibuster is not one of them.

Asked for an explanation of Lew’s remarks, a White House official said: “The Chief of Staff was clearly referencing the general gridlock in Congress that makes accomplishing even the most basic tasks nearly impossible given the Senate Republicans’ insistence on blocking an up or down vote on nearly every issue.”

Which is another lie. The real obstruction is from the Democrats in the Senate. They have blocked countless bills that have been passed by the House by bi-partisan votes.

In fact, the odds are Harry Reid will not even allow Obama’s latest budget to come up for a vote. (His last budget was defeated 97 to 0.) The last thing the Democrats want in an election year is to have Obama’s budget become known.

The Pinocchio Test

We might be tempted to think Lew misspoke, except that he said virtually the same thing, on two different shows, when he was specifically asked about the failure of Senate Democrats to pass a budget resolution. He even prefaced his comment on CNN by citing the “need to be honest.”

Four Pinocchios

Four Pinocchios, which is the their maximum number, is the Washington Post’s cute way of calling someone a blatant liar.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, February 13th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “WH Chief Of Staff Lies About Budget Gridlock”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Emanuel, Daley, now Lew. Three COS’s in three years. Has to be some sort of record. And, Lew, you days are categorically numbered. Obama will not be re-elected and you will be out on your ear come November.

  2. JohnMG says:

    The White House won’t even make a pretense of honesty. They are that disdainful of the population and hold us in utter contempt.

    That said, Lew must know he’s nothing but cannon fodder, yet he also knows he’ll be rewarded somehow. Maybe they won’t make him pay his taxes, or something.

    These are shameless people.

  3. mr_bill says:

    When a nerobama Chief of Staff tells the truth about something, that will be news.

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