Today, Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after Majority Leader Harry Reid asked for consent to move to a budget conference but then withdrew it after no Republicans came to the floor to respond.
“It has now been 51 days since the Senate and House have passed our respective budgets. Senate Democrats have tried five times to move to a conference committee where we can work together toward a balanced and bipartisan budget deal, but Senate Republicans have stood up and objected each time. This obstruction has lasted too long already, and I call on my Republican colleagues to stop blocking the budget process and allow us to move to conference.
“It’s not just Democrats who think we should move to conference, many Republicans agree. One of my Republican colleagues said it was ‘incomprehensible’ that his own leadership is blocking a budget conference after spending so much time talking about the importance of the Senate passing a budget and Congress returning to regular order. Another Senate Republican said he would ‘like to see a conference now.’ Hopefully Senate Republican leaders start listening to their own members and stop blocking what shouldn’t be a controversial step in the budget process.
“Instead of joining us in a bipartisan conference, House Republicans seem to be more focused on their party’s conference this week where they plan to decide what they’ll demand in exchange for not tanking the economy. This kind of brinksmanship is wrong, and it needs to end.
“The debt limit should not be a pawn that Republicans use to keep their Tea Party base happy. Republican leaders admitted earlier this year that, despite their rhetoric, they were not actually willing to drive the government into default and the economy over a cliff. The Boehner rule is already dead, even if the Tea Party won’t allow Speaker Boehner to admit it. So Republicans should stop stalling and playing political games that will do nothing more than hurt the economy and cause needless uncertainty.
“The American people are sick and tired of the lurching from crisis to crisis that is hurting the economy and causing uncertainty for families and communities across the country. I call on Republicans to allow us to move to a budget conference and join us at the table willing to make compromises and work toward a bipartisan deal.”