This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Analysis: Congress Aims to Fix Busted Budgeting

By Andrew Taylor

WASHINGTON -- In President Ronald Reagan's final State of the Union address, he slammed Congress for sending him a 14-pound, 1,053-page single spending bill. He warned lawmakers not to try his patience by doing it again.

"And if you do, I will not sign it," Reagan said.

Guess what? It worked.

Must Read: Turkmenistan Ending Free Gas for Citizens

In 1988, Congress passed 13 separate spending bills by the rarely met Oct. 1 deadline.

Twenty-six years later, an even larger bill of the type Reagan decried was seen as a triumph as it sped through Congress last week.

That's evidence of just how badly the annual appropriations process -- the little-watched but extremely important means by which Congress sets the government's annual spending priorities -- has gone off the rails.

The omnibus bill -- really 12 bills wrapped into one - was "rushed to passage without amendment or meaningful review," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. "The American people have no real ability to know what's in it or hold us, their elected representatives, accountable."

The question now is whether today's bitterly divided, dysfunctional Congress can rise to the occasion, as did the Congress that Reagan chastened.

It's hardly a sure thing.

Last week's 1,582-page bill was negotiated in the back rooms of the Capitol by only a few. It was presented to the House and Senate as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

Less than a decade ago, all 12 bills came to the full House and Senate for debate and amendments, and were then hashed out in conference committees before being signed by President George W. Bush.

But last year the bills became entangled in a broader fight over spending. Not a single appropriations bill passed the Senate before the omnibus measure.

Republicans filibustered the only plan that Democrats tried to bring up, because it contained spending levels well above the cuts imposed by the 2011 budget deal.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $95.18 1.64%
FB $117.43 -0.96%
GOOG $692.36 -0.84%
TSLA $232.32 -3.92%
YHOO $36.01 -1.42%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,750.91 -140.25 -0.78%
S&P 500 2,063.37 -18.06 -0.87%
NASDAQ 4,763.2240 -54.37 -1.13%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs