Conrad says he'll begin budget markup within weeks

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Wednesday he'd been given the green light by party leadership to begin work on a budget for this year.

Conrad said he'd begin work on a markup for this year's budget within the next few weeks, and said his House counterpart, Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) was committed to passing a budget as well.

"I'm going to markup in the next several weeks," Conrad told reporters on the Capitol. "The signal has been given to me: we're good to go."

Conrad said he'd been spending "a great deal of time" preparing his budget, and had every intention of proceeding with a budget despite signals from House Democratic leaders that they might not pursue one this year.

"I'm not a member of the House, I'm a member of the Senate," he said.

House Republicans seized on rumors Wednesday that Democrats might not produce a budget, criticizing it as a contributing factor to higher spending.

Conrad said that he spoke with Spratt this morning, and that the House Budget Committee chairman is "fully committed" to doing a budget as well.

Crossposted from the Blog Briefing Room