On Wednesday, Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee said that a Senate budget, which has been lacking for more than three years, is “an essential prerequisite of any fiscal reform that takes place this year,” and urged committee chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) to consider a “vigorous hearing and mark-up schedule” in accordance with federal law.
“We believe the Budget Committee cannot be a bystander at this historic time when the nation will be confronting the most serious debt issues,” the senators wrote in a letter to Murray. “The work of our committee, and the process of marking up a budget, will play an important role in helping the Congress and the nation find our way through this dangerous period.”
The letter included a recommended schedule of more than two dozen hearings and committee mark-ups, which would run from late January to mid-October.
“We believe that an open, fact-driven analysis of our situation as part of the lawfully required budget process will be good for America,” the letter read. “Our requests and suggestions are not for an easy schedule but for a challenging one. The people deserve no less. Substance must override politics.”
Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has thus far refused to allow votes or even a debate on a Senate budget resolution, almost certainly because he would like to shield his colleagues from having to go on record in support of the large tax increases that any Democratic budget would inevitably entail.
Republicans, for their part, are mulling whether to use their leverage in the upcoming debt-ceiling debate to pass a measure that could finally force Senate Democrats to pass a budget.