By Erik Wasson - 10/31/13 01:43 PM EDT
The budget conference committee met for the first time on Wednesday, and its leaders immediately clashed over the old issue of taxes.
Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military A fight for new rights MORE (D-Wash.) said Republicans must agree to close “tax loopholes” as part of any deal to replace automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanCures bill in jeopardy amid drug pricing push Brent Budowsky: An epic battle for the future of Congress NRCC ad touts GOP rep for bucking Trump MORE (R-Wis.) responded, “if this conference becomes an argument about taxes, we’re not going to get anywhere.”
The clash between Ryan and Murray, and the lack of urgency suggested by the decision to not meet until after a congressional recess, could justify outside expectations that the conference committee members are unlikely to reach a deal on their own.
Murray insisted she’s willing to agree to some “tough spending cuts” that, unlike the sequester, which would end in 2022, would be “permanently locked into law.”
But she said a compromise would have to run both ways, meaning Republicans would have to give ground on higher taxes.