Conrad: No Budget Markup Until After Biden Gang Agreement
The Senate has not passed a budget in 750 days.
8:01 AM, May 20, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has again delayed the introduction and markup of a budget proposal, according to the Hill. Conrad says he will defer that part of the process until after the bipartisan talks led by Vice President Joe Biden conclude:
This is the second bipartisan "gang" to try developing a budget compromise outside of the committee. The first, the so-called "Gang of Six", was pronounced dead yesterday after Gang member Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pulled out of talks. And, as the Budget Committee's ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) remarked on the Senate floor, yesterday marked the 750th day since the Senate last passed a budget. In a conference call yesterday afternoon with bloggers and reporters, Sessions said that he believes the Senate Democrats "don't intend to do anything" on passing a budget.
One cause of the delay is likely the fracture within the Democratic caucus on the issue of deficit reduction. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who sits on the Budget Committee and caucuses with the Democrats, has been advocating for more tax increases and fewer spending cuts, while moderate Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has said he is against any tax increases.