Dems to McConnell: Stick to budget deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE (R-Ky.) to stick to a two-year budget agreement and avoid any partisan landmines that could grind the Senate to a halt. 

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Harry Reid knocks Ocasio-Cortez's tax proposal: Fast 'radical change' doesn't work Overnight Defense: Trump rejects Graham call to end shutdown | Coast Guard on track to miss Tuesday paychecks | Dems eye Trump, Russia probes | Trump talks with Erdogan after making threat to Turkey's economy MORE (D-Nev.) and leading Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBlagojevich's wife 'speechless' that officer's sentence less than half of husband's Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Democrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal MORE (Ill.), Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (N.Y.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (Wash.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi to reclaim Speakership amid shutdown Athletic directors honor best former student-athletes on Capitol Hill MORE (Md.) sent a letter to McConnell saying that he should urge committees to stick with spending levels outlined in last year's Bipartisan Budget Act. 
 
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"A product of painstaking negotiation and compromise, the BBA established a bipartisan framework for Congress to move forward on annual funding bills based on the principles of full and fairly allocated funding, a rejection of poison pill riders, and parity between the Pentagon’s needs and other needs here at home," they wrote in the letter released Monday. 
 
They added that because of the deal, senators can start work on individual appropriations bills without waiting for the Senate to pass another budget. 

McConnell said that he was "glad" that Democrats supported moving the appropriations bills quickly. 

"Earlier this year, I asked the Appropriations Committee to accelerate their work so that we can be ready to consider individual bills as soon as mid-April," he added. 

The letter from Democrats came as Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziSenate passes criminal justice overhaul, handing Trump a win Senate votes to end debate on criminal justice reform bill America needs more accountants in Congress MORE (R-Wyo.), who chairs the Budget Committee, announced earlier Monday that he was holding off on a budget resolution amid disagreements in the House over spending cuts. 
  
McConnell told reporters earlier this year that Republicans would make “a major effort” to pass a budget. The Senate Republican leader also spoke last week in a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, where he urged them to stand by last fall's agreement with President Obama. 
 
House Republicans have been battling for weeks on a budget blueprint and are struggling to reach a consensus. 
 
McConnell has repeatedly suggested that his top goal for 2016 is to pass the 12 individual spending bills through "regular order." Enzi on Monday argued that the Senate can pass appropriations bills even without a budget resolution because the top-line spending numbers were set in last year’s budget deal.
 
Top Democrats added in their letter that they support McConnell's strategy, calling it a "win-win," but warned that lawmakers will be in a "race against a Senate calendar that is unusually abbreviated."  
 
- Updated at 2:28 p.m.