Knoxville — The United States Senate has failed in its Constitutional duty to pass a budget every year. No budget has passed the Senate since 2009, and Sen. Chuck Grassley is hopeful the new budget committee chair will spur passage of a new spending plan.
Grassley was asked in a telephone interview this morning if he felt the fiscal cliff negotiations would allow House Republicans to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow action on a budget.
"I wish I could answer that question," Grassley said. He added that Senate Republicans have given Reid "a hard time" for not passing a budget. Soon, Americans will feel the impact of the Senate's failure and action will have to be taken.
Grassley is confident that new Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Washington) will want to have a budget passed under her leadership.
"American families, who even in the midst of this economic crisis, have found ways to stretch their own dollars and balance their own budgets, deserve more from Washington, D.C. They are tired of being party to political impasses that threaten their own livelihoods, especially when they solve problems every day by seeking and finding common ground. I share their frustration. These families deserve more than partial solutions," reads an excerpt from a Murray press release regarding the "fiscal cliff" legislation.
"I'm sure she's going to want to pass a budget," Grassley said. He believes the House should pressure the Senate to act on a budget.
Guns, Mental Health
Grassley was asked about the Senate's reaction to the Newtown, Conn., massacre. He was asked if he felt the problem was with guns or mental health.
Grassley believes people who commit mass shootings have mental health problems, and that states should provide mental health diagnoses to a federal database to try to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.