But after an intervention from Sen. Harry Reid and company, he promptly came to his senses.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D), in a rogue move, made an aborted attempt to introduce a budget in the Senate. I know, it sounds crazy; everyone knows that kind of thing just isn't done in Harry Reid's Senate. Needless to say, Sen. Conrad didn't get very far. John Hinderaker:
The Democratic Senate has not adopted a budget in three years. This is not only flagrantly irresponsible, it is a violation of federal law. Outgoing Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, who is retiring at the end of the year, apparently felt pangs of conscience, because he decided it was finally time for his committee to mark up a budget. He announced that the committee would do so, starting tomorrow.Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) was appropriately disgusted:
A standard markup process begins with the committee chairman laying out a proposal, with the chairman and the ranking minority member giving opening statements. This is followed by an amendment process, in which amendments to the proposed legislation (here, the budget resolution) are offered and voted on. The markup process concludes with a committee vote on the bill or resolution as amended. In this case, Conrad assured ranking Republican Jeff Sessions that amendments would be allowed, and as recently as a few hours ago, Conrad’s and Sessions’s staffs were working out details of the amendment process.
Then, earlier this afternoon, Conrad gave a press conference in which he made the stunning announcement that there will be no budget markup after all. Instead, he will present a budget to the Budget Committee tomorrow. There will be no amendments and there will be no votes; not, at least, until after the election. Apparently Conrad had been proceeding on his own initiative, and at the 11th hour Harry Reid–supported by members of his caucus who do not want to have to go on record in favor of any budget–shut down the process.
“Chairman Conrad’s stunning announcement, forced on him by his party, is a defining moment in 2012 and a national embarrassment for a Senate majority that is unable to meet the great challenge of our time," Sessions said. "It’s been 1,084 days since the last time the Senate’s Democrat majority passed a budget plan, despite a simple majority threshold for passage. Our nation has never needed a budget more, and, as a party, Senate Democrats haven’t produced a plan for three years or conducted a committee mark-up for two. Today Chairman Conrad announced that the promised mark-up was effectively being cancelled—there will only be opening statements, no amendments or votes—following an apparent uprising from the Senate Democrat Conference that remains unwilling and unable to work on a budget plan. They have forfeited their claim on leadership. Majority Leader Reid’s unflinching decree that the Senate will not pass a budget reveals a party in Washington incapable of addressing the colossal spending and debt that threatens our nation with decline."If Sen. Conrad believes the Senate is morally and legally obligated to come up with a plan to steer us away from the approaching cliff's edge, he's in the wrong party. That he and his fellows allow themselves to be led by the likes of Reid attests to a gutlessness and dereliction of duty of historic proportions.
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