Sessions says GOP won't yield budget debate time, suggests taking it up after recess

“Under the budget law, we need to produce a budget by April 15,” Sessions said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “There is 50 hours of debate and a virtually unlimited number of amendments. … Now it looks like today that we have floor disputes and things are dragging out. If the floor debate does not shorten, I would suggest that we could come back the week of [April] 8 and complete work by April 15.” 

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The Senate is currently considering a continued spending resolution, which has been dragging on because some senators want votes on their amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that if there isn’t an agreement to vote on final passage of the bill funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year on Tuesday, that he would prefer to start the 50-hour clock on the budget while the Senate also considers the CR. He warned that if Republicans don’t agree, senators would be working through the weekend at the very least.

Sessions made it clear that Republicans would not yield any budget debate time because it has been four years since the Senate has debated a budget.

“If the Majority Leader is determined to move forward even into the weekend, we’ll be here and we’re not going to concede any time for debate,” Sessions said.

Sessions is the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. He said he had hoped that the Senate would be starting debate on the budget, drafted by Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), on Tuesday.

Democrats say their budget cuts the deficit by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an equal amount of tax revenue and spending cuts, but the GOP has said that because it assumes the sequester will not happen, the amount if deficit reduction is closer to $700 billion.

“I would just point out that this budget that’s been produced is totally promoted improperly. It claims to reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion,” Sessions said. “This budget plan increases taxes, increases spending over our current rate and does nothing to balance the deficit.”