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Murray Urges Senate Republican Leadership to Stop Blocking Bipartisan Budget Conference on the 95th Day Since the Senate Budget Passed

Jun 26 2013

Murray asks to move to conference with the House for fifteenth time, blocked by Senator Cruz

Murray: “…the last thing the American people, who come together and resolve differences every day, want to see is another round of manufactured crises coming out of Washington D.C. And they don’t have to. We still have time.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging Senate Republican leadership to end their obstruction and allow the House and Senate to begin negotiations in a bipartisan budget conference.  Chairman Murray highlighted the changing excuses Republican leaders have offered for blocking conference, and called on Republican leaders to agree to come to together and try to work out an agreement like Americans across the country do every day.

Chairman Murray asked for unanimous consent to move to conference, marking the 15th request Democrats have made in the 95 days since the Senate passed its budget, but was blocked by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Key excerpts from Murray’s floor speech:

“I’ve come to the floor myself 6 times to request unanimous consent to move to conference. My Democratic colleagues have requested unanimous consent to move to conference another 8 times. And after every request, a Senate Republican has stood up and said no to the opportunity to work on a bipartisan budget deal.”

“A large group of us just think that, although we do have major differences between the parties’ values and priorities, we should at least come to the table and try to work out a deal. That’s what the American people do every day. When there’s a disagreement, they can’t afford to just play a game of chicken and hope the other person gives in. Because when that happens, important things don’t get done.”

“…there are important things that aren’t getting done in the Senate right now. Because some Republicans want to embrace the harmful topline spending level in sequestration, we have a major gap between the House and Senate appropriations levels for the next fiscal year. And we don’t have much time to resolve that gap.”

“…I urge Senate Republican leaders to drop the Tea Party-backed strategy of delaying until the next crisis, and allow the Senate to join the House in formal bipartisan budget negotiations.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s speech:

“Mr. President, it has now been 95 days since the Senate passed a budget.

“I’ve come to the floor myself 6 times to request unanimous consent to move to conference. My Democratic colleagues have requested unanimous consent to move to conference another 8 times. And after every request, a Senate Republican has stood up and said no to the opportunity to work on a bipartisan budget deal.

“Mr. President, I’d like to say to the Republicans who are blocking a bipartisan budget conference that enough is enough. We’ve heard enough excuses.

“From refusing to allow a conference before we get a so-called pre-conference framework. To putting preconditions on what can be discussed in a bipartisan conference. To claiming that moving to a budget conference, which leading Republicans called for just months ago, was somehow not regular order. To, most recently, claiming we need to look at a thirty year budget window before looking at the major problems we’ve got right in front of us which I’d add is just unacceptable, because the American people rightly expect us to work on both at the same time.

“Mr. President, hearing these changing excuses week after week has been really frustrating, not just for Democrats, but for many of my Republican colleagues as well.

“A large group of us just think that, although we do have major differences between the parties’ values and priorities, we should at least come to the table and try to work out a deal. That’s what the American people do every day.

“When there’s a disagreement, they can’t afford to just play a game of chicken and hope the other person gives in. Because when that happens, important things don’t get done.

“The kids don’t get picked up from school, or the bills don’t get paid on time, or a small business misses a major opportunity for expansion. Every day, Americans avoid those kinds of situations and we should at least try to do the same.

“Mr. President, there are important things that aren’t getting done in the Senate right now. Because some Republicans want to embrace the harmful topline spending level in sequestration, we have a major gap between the House and Senate appropriations levels for the next fiscal year. And we don’t have much time to resolve that gap.

“After we come back from the state work period, we will have just one month to try to come to an agreement or else we’re going to find ourselves in a very tough situation in September. We would, once again, be working against the clock to avoid a harmful crisis.

“Mr. President, the last thing the American people, who come together and resolve differences every day, want to see is another round of manufactured crises coming out of Washington D.C. And they don’t have to. We still have time.

“I know there are leaders on both sides of the aisle who would strongly prefer to solve problems, rather than get into yet another political fight that creates uncertainty for families and our economy.

“And I’m confident that if those of us who prefer common sense bipartisanship over artificial crisis work together, we can reach a fair agreement and show the American people that their government works.

“So I urge Senate Republican leaders to drop the Tea Party-backed strategy of delaying until the next crisis, and allow the Senate to join the House in formal bipartisan budget negotiations.

“Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 33, H. Con. Res. 25; that the amendment which is at the desk, the text of S. Con. Res. 8, the budget resolution passed by the Senate, be inserted in lieu thereof; that H. Con. Res. 25, as amended, be agreed to; the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table; that the Senate insist on its amendment, request a conference with the House on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses, and the Chair be authorized to appoint conferees on the part of the Senate; that following the authorization, two motions to instruct conferees be in order from each side--motion to instruct relative to the debt limit, and motion to instruct relative to taxes and revenue; that there be 2 hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to votes in relation to the motions; further, that no amendments be in order to either of the motions prior to the votes; all of the above occurring with no intervening action or debate.

“Thank you and I yield the floor.”