On Budget, Congressional Democrats Say Much by Saying Nothing

President Barack Obama speaks Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden with Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Congressional Democrats are not getting behind Obama's 2014 budget plan. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Two things are near-certainties on Budget Day: One is likely to have a headache well before noon, and one’s email inbox will be flooded with lawmaker statements. But the latter didn’t occur on Wednesday, at least not with its usual fury.

As one would expect in a two-party political system, the opposition party wasted no time staking out its positions on various parts of President Barack Obama’s 2014 federal budget blueprint. Republican lawmakers’ offices began sending out statements criticizing the spending outline before the plan was formally released. Fair enough. That’s how the American system works.

The Republican statements came in an early wave. Reporters on Capitol Hill scurried to their laptops to write up the opposition party’s take on the budget plan. If one plays Budget Day correctly, by the time one has written up the opposition’s views the second wave — from lawmakers of the sitting president’s party — will have crashed into the inbox.

But that second wave never came. Why?

Simple. Democratic lawmakers are unhappy with Obama for proposing reforms to domestic entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Those Democrats who did issue statements offered only lukewarm support for Obama’s budget blueprint. And those who remained silent proved that sometimes in Washington saying nothing makes a bigger statement than being the loudest one in the room.

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett