Republicans step up calls for Democrats to offer budget proposal
As the bipartisan “Gang of 6” talks appear to have stalled indefinitely, Senate Republicans are stepping up the pressure on the Democratic majority to produce a budget plan.
Thursday marks the 750th day since the Senate last passed a budget. After weeks of expecting a proposal to be put forward only to have nothing materialize, one Republican staffer speculated to The Daily Caller that Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad may skip the committee markup process altogether.
Conrad himself has said he has no immediate plans to bring a budget proposal to the committee. And according to the staffer, while Democrats have been working around the clock on a proposal, there was no activity over the weekend.
“It doesn’t look good for a committee process,” the staffer said.
“The Democrats campaigned for control of this chamber,” said Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions of Alabama. “They asked for the job. Let’s see their budget.”
Texas Republican Sen. Jon Cornyn took to Twitter to ask, “What? Still no budget?”
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota also tweeted Wednesday “749 days have passed since @senatedems passed a budget. With the #national debt over $14 trillion, what’s the rush?”
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman also joined in on Twitter, saying “We’re in a fiscal crisis, yet the #Democrat led Senate has not passed a #budget in 748 days.”
But while calling on the Democrats to produce a budget is nothing new, Republicans took it a step further Wednesday by accusing the majority of wasting time in what has been an uncharacteristically slow session.
That was clear when the Senate Republican Conference, chaired by Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, sent out a press release with a bold headline reading “Democrats’ spending marches on while their budget is MIA…but delay hasn’t been because the Democrats haven’t had the time.”
The release went on to highlight recent reports about the Senate’s lack of productivity of late. As of last week, the Senate has only held 70 roll call votes – the lowest level at this point of the year the chamber has seen since 1997.
Five whole weeks were also devoted to getting a small business bill to pass the Senate. It ended up failing anyway on a disagreement over process.
“The fact that President Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate have not put forward a responsible budget is not only disappointing — it’s alarming,” said Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
“We are ready for a robust debate on the future of our country, but, as the majority, Senate Democrats must show some leadership first,” Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said.
Conrad’s office at the Budget Committee did not respond to TheDC requests for comment.