GOP blocks budget conference for fourth time

“It’s now been 46 days since the Senate passed a budget,” Warner said. “Members on the other side of the aisle have been blocking our efforts. … I find that extremely disappointing.”

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Senate Democrats have made the same request three previous times, but the GOP continues to demand concessions in order to get agreement.

“What [McConnell] is requesting is for us to redo the budget debate,” Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said after McConnell objected again on Wednesday. “There is no need to go back through another 50 hours of debate. … This body needs to go to work. … We need to go to conference and litigate our differences.”

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee proceeded to criticize Republicans for repeatedly calling for a return to regular order, yet now they are objecting to appointing budget conferees. 

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.

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