White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on Sunday defended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision not to hold a vote on a budget by falsely claiming it would be filibustered by Republicans.
Lew, who previously served as the director of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget, surely knows that a budget merely needs a simply majority to pass.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Candy Crowley asked Lew about Reid’s unwillingness to hold a budget vote. Lew started off by offering Reid’s standard defense – that it isn’t necessary to pass a non-binding budget resolution because last year’s debt limit deal already set spending levels.
“He’s not saying that they shouldn’t pass a budget,” Lew continued. “But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support.”
Yet as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explains, a budget resolution “requires only a majority vote to pass, and its consideration is one of the few actions that cannot be filibustered in the Senate.”
UPDATE: It can’t be dismissed as a one off misstatement – here is Lew saying the same thing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” This is clearly a White House talking point to portray Republicans as obstructionists that’s based on a completely false premise.