(CNSNews.com) – Sunday marked the three-year anniversary since the Senate last passed a budget.
April 29 was the record 1,096th day without a federal budget since passing a budget was required by law in 1974. Normally, each house of Congress passes its own budget, reconciles the differences, and then sends the final bill to the president for his signature.
However, the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, has not passed a budget since 2009.
The federal government, meanwhile, has continued to spend money, doling out a total of $10.4 trillion in the three years since a federal budget was last passed.
While budgets don’t directly spend money, they do set overall levels of federal spending and serve as a blueprint for congressional appropriators--setting out the nation’s taxing and spending priorities. By not passing a budget, the Senate has effectively blocked the government from changing those priorities.
This year, Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has declined to hold a vote on the latest iteration of a Senate budget resolution, holding a hearing on his proposal but refusing to allow amendments or a vote on the measure.
“This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor," Conrad said April 17. "I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election."