GOP puts forward schedule to get budget done ahead of deadline

Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have put forward a schedule for producing a budget resolution this year to committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The Senate has not passed a budget resolution since 2009, and Murray last year suggested that a budget may not get done again this year.

In a letter made public Wednesday, Republicans lay out a detailed hearing and markup schedule to meet the legal deadline for producing a budget.

They call for a budget markup on March 11 in committee and for March 18 floor consideration, leading to a conferenced House-Senate resolution by the April 15 deadline. 

“We believe the Budget Committee cannot be a bystander at this historic time when the nation will be confronting the most serious debt issues. We must take the steps necessary to avoid what Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have told our committee will be the ‘the most predictable economic crisis in history,’ ” the letter states, naming the president's deficit commission chairmen.

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“We believe that an open, fact-driven analysis of our situation as part of the lawfully required budget process will be good for America. Our requests and suggestions are not for an easy schedule but for a challenging one. The people deserve no less,” it states.

Murray's office said Wednesday that she appreciates the suggestions but she is still working to determine whether to move a budget through committee.

Spokesman Eli Zupnick said fights over the debt ceiling, sequestration cuts and the 2013 spending bill will affect how the committee proceeds.

"Sen. Murray appreciates the input and will work with all members of the committee to put together a hearing schedule that examines all aspects of the budget and brings the voices of families across the country into the process," Zupnick said. "With three deadlines coming up and many Republicans threatening to throw the federal government into default, the budget process has moved far from usual order and the path forward is entirely dependent on what happens over the next few months."

"Sen. Murray will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to determine if moving a budget resolution through the committee is the best way to get the balanced and bipartisan budget agreement that the American people expect and deserve," he added

The schedule anticipates analyzing President Obama’s budget request for 2014 around Feb. 25. The president’s budget is due Feb. 4, but the White House informed Congress late last week that it will be late.

The detailed hearing schedule lasts through October.

The letter was signed by ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Michael Enzi (Wyo.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.).

Sessions has separately called for any increase in the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling increase to be conditioned on the Senate producing a budget resolution this year.

Updated at 12:56 p.m.