The Washington Times - March 22, 2013, 10:04AM

The top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee blames the budget impasse on a “radicalized” Republican Party that refuses to compromise.

“The distance [between the parties] has really widened dramatically, and it’s hard to know how to deal with [Republican] extremism,” Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan told MSNBC Friday. “It doesn’t provide a basis for compromise.”

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Mr. Levin said the level and productiveness of talks between Republicans and Democrats have never been worse during his 26 years on the powerful tax-writing panel.

“It’s really disturbing,” he said. “The extremism that has captured the Republicans in the House I think creates a gap that I think is very difficult to bridge. [But] we have to try.”

The House earlier this week passed a Republican-crafted budget proposal that was received no Democratic votes. But the measure is almost certain to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The Senate is poised to vote Friday on a Democratic budget blueprint, but that proposal faces strong Republican pushback in the chamber, and would be met with insurmountable GOP opposition in the House if it made it that far.