As Senate Schedule Raises Alarm, Sessions Announces Proposal

As Senate Schedule Raises Alarm, Sessions Announces Proposal Requiring Sufficient Time To Review Any Debt Limit Bill

“For weeks, Republicans have insisted that the Senate should not recess without working to control our enormous surging debt and unsustainable spending… But now it looks like we may be in session only for show—it seems no work is slated on cutting spending, developing a budget, or addressing the debt ceiling… Given where we are headed, I will introduce legislation next week that establishes a new rule requiring that a debt limit increase be made public 7 days before a vote occurs.”

[Note: To view a new letter from Sessions to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad yesterday renewing the request from Republican committee members for 72 hours to analyze any budget proposal before it is marked up, please click here. To view a timeline of developments on the Democrats’ still-unseen FY2012 budget plan, please click here.]

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today in response to reports that, after keeping the Senate in session next week “because we have work to do,” Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Senate Democrat leadership have not scheduled any budget markup or any action on the debt ceiling or related matters:

“President Obama and Senate Democrat leaders continue to maneuver to avoid putting a credible budget plan on paper. They know that they cannot produce a plan that will both prevent the most predictable economic crisis in American history and sustain their big-government vision. This latest announcement that they will have ‘meetings’ and produce only a budget ‘vision’ is nothing more than an attempt to lull the growing concerns, and continues the fiscal rope-a-dope. It has been almost 800 days since this chamber has passed a budget under Democrats’ leadership. It appears no resolution will be brought forward next week, only more closed-door meetings and selectively disseminated information. There is no mark-up scheduled—the Committee still remains barred from meeting, in public, to craft and amend a budget for this nation. This is a continued breach of both our legal and moral obligations.

For weeks, Republicans have insisted that the Senate should not recess without working to control our enormous surging debt and unsustainable spending. The president and Senate Democrat leaders realized the public would not tolerate a vacation under these circumstances, so the Senate will be in session next week. But now it look like we may be in session only for show—it seems no work is slated on cutting spending, developing a budget, or addressing the debt ceiling. Instead, as our economy suffers, the only major item that has been scheduled is a Libya resolution.

Meanwhile, the debt limit deadline is only weeks away—and the president continues his refusal to set forth a coherent plan that he stands behind. He continues to rely on secret meetings, and it’s clear that the White House expects to thrust a last-minute deal on Congress under the threat of panic. They assume lawmakers will support such a deal with no time to review it, no time to amend or revise it, no time for the public to weigh in, and no time for national opinion to form as meaningful discussion and analysis unfold. Given where we are headed, I plan to offer legislation next week that establishes a new rule requiring that a debt limit increase be made public 7 days before a vote occurs. This is the minimum time needed to address such an important matter. We shouldn’t ‘have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.’

Now is the time to get busy. I hope President Obama and Democrat leaders will reconsider their approach and allow us to work next week in a meaningful, open way on the defining issues of our time.”


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