McCain: Reagan would not have disagreed with having a budget

McCain’s remarks were prompted after Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) request to form a budget conference committee to work out the major differences between the House and Senate budgets was rejected for a 12th time.

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"We’ve known for a while that blocking regular order, especially after calling for it so eagerly just a matter of months ago, was not sitting well with some of our Republican colleagues," Murray said. "It looks pretty silly to call for a budget and then stand in the way of getting one."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) objected to Murray’s request, insisting that any budget conference report be prohibited from including an increase in the debt ceiling.

“I don’t think that we object to moving to budget conference. We object to raising the debt ceiling within the budget conference report,” Rubio said in response to Murray and McCain.

McCain has been critical of members of his own party, calling it “a little bit bizarre” that after four years of calling for the return to regular order, GOP senators are now objecting to that very process.

“I want to tell my colleagues that continue to do this — with my strenuous objections — the Majority will become frustrated, and they can change the rules,” McCain said referring to the “nuclear option,” which allows the majority to change congressional rules with a simple majority vote. “I can understand the frustration that many of my friends on the other side of the aisle feel.”

McCain said he would no longer participate in this “exercise because it’s obviously a fruitless effort” to continue to ask some GOP senators to agree to form a budget conference. 

McCain also continued his back-and-forth with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has been one of the leading objectors to the budget conference. In one of his prior objections, Cruz said that he didn’t want to go to conference with the House because he didn’t trust members of his own party to negotiate on his behalf since the deficit increased under their leadership as well.

“One of my colleagues said, ‘I don’t trust Democrats, and I don’t trust Republicans,’” McCain said. “This isn’t a matter of trusting Democrats or Republicans. This is a matter of whether we will go through the legislative process that we told people we would do.”