The Washington Times - January 26, 2013, 11:21AM

Echoing other Republicans who in recent days have hammered the Democrat-led Senate for its failure to approve a budget, Sen. John Thune said Saturday a spending blueprint is the key to bringing the growth of the federal government under control.

“The lack of a clear spending blueprint has enabled billions of dollars in wasteful spending and massive growth in the size of government,” the South Dakota Republican said in the GOP’s weekly address.

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Mr. Thune, the Senate’s No. 3-ranked Republican, pointed out that it’s been almost four years since the upper chamber has passed a budget.

“The last time the Senate passed a budget, the iPad didn’t even exist,” he said.

The South Dakota senator also put in a plug for the stalled Keystone project, the massive $7 billion proposed pipeline that would carry oil from Canada across the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“Rather than continuing to spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars on government projects, Washington should approve private-sector economic projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, which the president is blocking,” he said. “This project alone would create 20,000 jobs.”