Kentucky families and businesses plan and prioritize their spending by making and following a responsible budget. Congress is required to do the same by passing an annual budget, a blueprint for all federal spending.
While the House of Representatives passed a fiscally responsible budget on April 11, 2011, the Senate has not passed a budget since April 29, 2009, more than 900 days ago.
Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, it is a failure of leadership and a breakdown of one of the most basic functions of government.
Since the Senate last passed a budget, there have been three Kentucky Derbies, three Independence Days, and three new school years have started. And you have filed your federal income taxes twice, while the Senate has still not passed any long-term plan of how to spend your money.
During the last 900 days, about 143,000 children were born in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Together, these new citizens already owe $6.8 billion to pay off their share of the national debt, which has increased by $3.7 trillion over the same period of time.
Nine hundred days is also a long time for Kentucky businesses. Schwan’s Food in Florence can produce up to 2 million pizzas per day. This means, that in 900 days, they could produce 1.8 billion pizzas, enough to give every man, woman and child on Earth at least a quarter of a pizza.
With a capacity to produce up to 30,000 smoked, boneless hams a day, in 900 days, the Smithfield Packing Company in Grayson could make 27 million hams. This would be more than enough to give each Kentuckian a ham for the holidays, as well as a ham to every resident of Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia.
To work off all that pizza and ham, in 900 days you could walk in a loop from my office in Fort Mitchell to Seattle to San Diego to Miami to Portland, Maine and back almost four times, including 12 hours of rest per day.
Many of the students who were preparing to graduate from high school in the spring of 2009 (the last time the Senate passed a budget) are now juniors in college. In less than 900 days from now, many of them will have graduated and will be looking for jobs.
With unemployment still hovering over 9 percent, too many Americans are looking for work and struggling to pay their bills. The Senate can help by passing a fiscally responsible budget that makes the difficult decisions necessary to reduce the deficit and begin to pay down our out-of-control national debt. This would be one step toward creating the stability and confidence that job creators need to invest, grow their businesses and hire.
A lot can happen in 900 days and there is simply no excuse for the Senate to avoid this responsibility for so long. The American people cannot afford to wait any longer for the Senate to act.