By Erik Wasson - 04/17/13 06:45 PM EDT
House Democrats on Wednesday increased their pressure on Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE (R-Ohio) to convene a formal House-Senate budget conference committee.
All 17 Democrats on the House Budget Committee sent a letter to BoehnerJohn BoehnerRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare The disorderly order of presidential succession MORE calling for the committee to be created.
The Senate passed a budget this year for the first time in four years, after Republicans made its failure to do so a pet issue.
Reconciling the Senate budget with the House-passed budget would provide a cap for 2014 spending, easing the passage of 12 annual appropriations bills. It could also resolve uncertainty about the looming debt ceiling.
“Now that President Obama has provided his spending blueprint for the approaching fiscal year, it is the responsibility of both chambers to promptly organize a conference committee and proceed with budget deliberations under regular order,” the letter states.
The members write that “there is no excuse for dysfunction in Congress, and there can be no justification for the failure to engage in a meaningful attempt to find common ground.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanSunday shows preview: Both sides gear up for debate FULL SPEECH: Obama celebrates African American museum opening Trump slams Obama for ‘shameful’ 9/11 bill veto MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday that he is trying to get a “framework” agreement in place before agreeing to convene a conference with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems call for better birth control access for female troops US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.)
The House and Senate budget are vastly different and Ryan said he only wants to set up the meetings if they can accomplish a down payment on the deficit.
Democrats say that after clamoring for “regular order” and against backroom budget deals, Republicans must now follow through.
Privately, they say they are eager for the chance to put the spotlight on the GOP’s unwillingness to end tax breaks for wealthy in exchange for real spending cuts.
“The American people, many of whom are still enduring the effects of an economy in recovery, deserve no less than an honest and serious effort by the House and Senate to reconcile differences and move our nation forward by enacting a budget,” the letter states.
The letter is also signed by Reps. Allyson Schwartz (Penn.), John YarmuthJohn YarmuthDem lawmakers: Clinton should have disclosed illness sooner House Dems to GOP on gun reprimands: 'Bring it on' Overnight Regulation: Obama unveils new Arctic drilling rules | GOP pushes regulatory budget MORE (Ky.), Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Gwen MooreGwen MooreLawmakers mourn Gene Wilder’s death Wisconsin Dem calls for calm in wake of Milwaukee police shooting Dems to Obama: End citizenship rule for education programs MORE (Wis.), Kathy Castor (Fla.), Jim McDermottJim McDermottGovernment to step in if insurance companies don't offer affordable health care choices Dems fear they made a mistake passing ObamaCare provision House advances bill with ObamaCare mandate exemption MORE (Wash.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Mark PocanMark PocanGaza’s plight matters to the world House Dems urge enforcement of Colombia trade deal Teachers union: Trump's comments encourage school bullies MORE (Wis.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Tony Cardenas (Calif.), Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerOvernight Finance: House GOP grills IRS chief on impeachment | Bipartisan anger over Iran payment | Fed holds rates steady but hints at coming hike Panel votes to extend nuclear power tax credit DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (Ore.) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.).
On Wednesday, House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), whose committee faces the task of passing the spending bills without an agreed-upon budget number, also called on Boehner to convene a conference.
“The 2013 Appropriations process was completed nearly six months after the beginning of the fiscal year and relied on inadequate and outdated continuing resolutions to fund much of the federal government. We can – and must – do better," she said.
This story was updated at 3:23 p.m.