Top Dem says Congress shouldn’t pass budget

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Congress will not produce a budget this year, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday, though he said Congress should take steps to impose one-year spending limits on itself and begin to lay the groundwork for long-term restraint.

Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said there’s no point to passing a budget, which sets out both binding one-year targets and a multiyear plan. He said the debt commission President Obama has formed is working on the long-term issues.

“It isn’t possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we’ve considered the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December,” Mr. Hoyer said at a speech sponsored by Third Way, a progressive think tank.

The House and Senate don’t always agree on a final budget, but the House itself never has failed to pass at least its own version of the plan.

Mr. Hoyer’s announcement drew a mocking response from House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, whose office issued a statement reminding reporters Mr. Hoyer in the past has called a budget the “most basic responsibility of governing.”

Spending and the country’s debt — which now tops $13 trillion — have become dominant issues in Washington, but Mr. Hoyer cautioned against taking too drastic action on deficits right now. He said the bigger problem is long-term structural imbalance.

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