Dems to McConnell: Stick to budget deal

Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellZika funding fight throws wrench in health lobbyists’ plans Shutdown risk grows over Flint Senate poised to override Obama veto MORE (R-Ky.) to stick to a two-year budget agreement and avoid any partisan landmines that could grind the Senate to a halt. 

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidShutdown risk grows over Flint Overnight Finance: Four days left to avert shutdown | Conservative group bucks spending bill | Lawmakers play catch-up on smartphone banking Reid blasts GOP senator over Flint 'hostage' comments MORE (D-Nev.) and leading Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSpending bill doesn't include Cruz internet fight Overnight Tech: GOP says internet fight isn't over | EU chief defends Apple tax ruling | Feds roll out self-driving car guidelines | Netflix's China worries Reid blasts Cruz over internet fight MORE (Ill.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Tech: Tech pushes for debate spotlight | Disney may bid for Twitter | Dem seeks Yahoo probe Saudis hire lobbyists amid 9/11 fight Consumer bureau remains partisan target after Wells Fargo settlement MORE (N.Y.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems call for better birth control access for female troops US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare MORE (Wash.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiThis week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Key court date for climate rule; Fight over Flint aid Week ahead: Spending fight shifts from Zika to Flint MORE (Md.) sent a letter to McConnell saying that he should urge committees to stick with spending levels outlined in last year's Bipartisan Budget Act. 
 
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"A product of painstaking negotiation and compromise, the BBA established a bipartisan framework for Congress to move forward on annual funding bills based on the principles of full and fairly allocated funding, a rejection of poison pill riders, and parity between the Pentagon’s needs and other needs here at home," they wrote in the letter released Monday. 
 
They added that because of the deal, senators can start work on individual appropriations bills without waiting for the Senate to pass another budget. 

McConnell said that he was "glad" that Democrats supported moving the appropriations bills quickly. 

"Earlier this year, I asked the Appropriations Committee to accelerate their work so that we can be ready to consider individual bills as soon as mid-April," he added. 

The letter from Democrats came as Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Wyo.), who chairs the Budget Committee, announced earlier Monday that he was holding off on a budget resolution amid disagreements in the House over spending cuts. 
  
McConnell told reporters earlier this year that Republicans would make “a major effort” to pass a budget. The Senate Republican leader also spoke last week in a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, where he urged them to stand by last fall's agreement with President Obama. 
 
House Republicans have been battling for weeks on a budget blueprint and are struggling to reach a consensus. 
 
McConnell has repeatedly suggested that his top goal for 2016 is to pass the 12 individual spending bills through "regular order." Enzi on Monday argued that the Senate can pass appropriations bills even without a budget resolution because the top-line spending numbers were set in last year’s budget deal.
 
Top Democrats added in their letter that they support McConnell's strategy, calling it a "win-win," but warned that lawmakers will be in a "race against a Senate calendar that is unusually abbreviated."  
 
- Updated at 2:28 p.m.