As President Obama prepares to unveil his FY2013 budget Monday, White House chief of staff Jack Lew this morning was asked by CNN to defend the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days.
“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,” Lew said. “So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”
That’s not accurate. Budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage, as Lew — former director of the Office of Management and Budget — surely must know.The real reason why the Senate under Reid hasn't passed a budget (as required by law) in years:
In this case, political observers believe Reid is reluctant to have Democrats vote on a large budget full of deficits and tax increases that Republicans can use to run against them.Update: The Washington Post gives Lew its highest rating, Four Pinocchios:
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.