Senate GOP denies formation of budget conference for third time

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected to Murray’s request. He said Republicans would agree only if the conference report would not be used to raise the debt ceiling or taxes.

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Murray criticized Republicans for saying they want to return to regular order yet then refuse to appoint conferees.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to get a unanimous consent agreement to appoint budget conferees as well. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) objected. Reid accused him of being a "schoolyard bully."

The Senate passed its first budget resolution in four years last month. Murray and her House counterpart, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have been meeting about setting up a conference, but Democrats say House GOP members are dragging their feet because they’re afraid of a backlash from Tea Party elements within the GOP ranks.

The House-passed budget cuts $4.6 trillion in spending on top of the $1.2 trillion sequestration cuts already scheduled to take effect, and it balances in 10 years.

The Senate-passed budget has $975 billion in new taxes, does not balance, and turns off sequestration.