You have probably heard by now the disastrous performance by new White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on the Sunday morning talk shows last weekend. When it was noted on CNN’s State of the Union that the Democrat-controlled Senate has not passed a budget for 1,019 days now, almost three years, in violation of federal law, Lew said, “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. So unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”
Later that day, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Lew repeated in response to the same question, “One of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60, not 50, votes to pass something.”
The problem is not only that it takes no more than 51 votes to pass a budget resolution under Senate rules. Indeed, it only takes a simple majority of the Senators present. The problem is that Jack Lew has served twice before as Director of OMB, so there is no doubt that he knows this.