Senate Republicans call for transparent budget process

The North Dakota Democrat has, to this point, pushed back against a Senate budget alternative in part because of the talks ongoing between the Gang of Six. Conrad and another member of that group, Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.), said over the weekend that they hoped to roll out an agreement soon, to ensure their work remains relevant in the discussion over deficit reduction.

Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoPower struggle threatens to sink bank legislation Overnight Regulation: FDA rule to limit nicotine in cigarettes moves forward | Court tosses Obama financial adviser rule | House GOP threatens to hold up Senate Dodd-Frank rollback Overnight Finance: House threatens to freeze Senate Dodd-Frank rollback | New Russia sanctions | Trump vs. Trudeau on trade | Court tosses Obama financial adviser rule MORE (R-Idaho), another member of the Gang of Six, is also a Budget Committee member and signed on to the letter from committee Republicans. 

Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: Trump ‘dumbs down’ American values Breitbart editor: Biden's son inked deal with Chinese government days after vice president’s trip Biden makes endorsements in top House races MORE is set to kick off budget discussions next week with a select group of lawmakers chosen by congressional leaders from both parties, a proposal President Obama pushed in his deficit-reduction speech this month. The House also recently passed the FY 2012 budget largely crafted by Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSpending deal talks down to toughest issues, lawmakers say Schiff: I thought more Republicans would speak out against Trump Dem leaders pull back from hard-line immigration demand MORE (R-Wis.), the Budget Committee chairman.

Stu Nagurka, a spokesman for Conrad, responded to the GOP letter in a statement, saying the Budget panel has consistently held open mark-ups on budgets and that Conrad knows well the need to urgently deal with deficits. 

"That’s why he has been working hard for months on a bipartisan, comprehensive deficit reduction plan," Nagurka added. "He wants to give the Group of 6 a chance to reach agreement so that he could consider using that bipartisan plan as a framework for the Senate budget resolution.”

For his part, Senate Budget Republicans have not been shy in pushing for more action from Democrats on the 2012 budget. Earlier this month, the group asked the president to submit a new budget for next year, saying his April 13 speech represented a shift from his original proposal.