Conrad not ruling out reconciliation language for budget draft

The reconciliation process was used 10 years ago with the support of Republicans to enact the tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress have backed extending the tax cuts for all but those in the top two tax brackets, who make more than $250,000 a year.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said reconciliation wouldn't be a proper use to extend tax cuts.

When asked by The Hill what is different about using reconciliation this year, Gregg said, "10 years."

In 2001, the federal government was running a surplus. Since then, it has run deficits and is expected by the Congressional Budget Office to run deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade under Obama's policies.

An extension of the tax cuts would likely increase debt, as Democrats have said they plan to pass them without finding an offset to their costs.