- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Democrats try to shift budget onus to GOP
Question of the Day
After several years of complaining that Congress didn’t have a budget, Republicans are now the ones holding up the 2014 budget process.
Both the GOP-led House and Democrat-controlled Senate have passed plans, but House Speaker John A. Boehner seems in no hurry to create the official conference committee that would hammer out differences.
Democrats, tired of taking fire for their budget record, are on the offensive, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trying to jump-start final budget negotiations Tuesday. He took to the Senate floor and made a motion to formally set up the Senate budget negotiating team, but the GOP blocked it.
“Republicans are afraid to even be seen considering a compromise with Democrats,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said.
But top Republicans in both chambers said they wanted to hold informal talks first to see what kind of final budget deal is possible.
“Typically when you go to conference, you have a sense that there’s an agreement possible,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said. “Certainly, there ought to be discussions between Senate and House budget leaders, but to go to conference right now when we have no sense of whether there’s any chance of getting an outcome strikes us as not making much sense.”
The HouseGOP budget envisions strict spending limits on domestic spending, including major changes to Medicare, and reaches balance in a decade. The Senate Democratic budget would raise taxes and cut defense, but still leaves a deficit in every year.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said that Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, have begun informal negotiations.
Similar deliberations took place in 2009, when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed conferees more than two months after the House passed its budget.
Democrats said part of the GOP’s reluctance is that it doesn’t want to have to face tough votes on specific budget items. If the two chambers agree to hold a formal conference, the minority party is allowed to offer nonbinding procedural motions that could force the GOP to take tough votes.
“That’s not a good place for them to be, but that is democracy and that is regular order,” Mr. Hoyer said.
Significant concessions from both sides will be needed if talks are to advance. The Senate budget’s $3 trillion in taxes presents a nonstarter for most Republicans. In the House, Mr. Ryan’s plan repeals President Obama’s health care overhaul, among other cuts to entitlement programs — sacred cows for many Democrats.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said the path to a so-called grand bargain is narrow, but possible, and Mr. Obama got a discussion started with a plan to reduce entitlement spending by $800 billion over 10 years.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Williams: First lady didn't discuss her relationship with husband
- Williams: Maureen McDonnell's high-dollar requests seemed excessive
- Trips, loans for McDonnell family detailed at trial
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors