From a press conference with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) yesterday in Washington:

I think what made [a budget agreement] hard [this year] is . . . there was so much linkage. And this wasn't from the administration; it was also from the Senate and the House. You know, we couldn't do U.N. arrears until we took on [grants to international family planning organizations] -- we couldn't even talk about the extenders until we talked about COPS and teachers. Everything was linked. And it [was] sort of like coming on and off the freeways in Los Angeles at 5, you know? You . . . never knew what was going on and what was coming out. And it was very hard to come to an agreement on anything. And those were very difficult negotiations.

The other thing is that we had members of the White House bringing up pieces of legislation and saying, "We want to put this on the desk." Well, you know, they apparently had not read the Constitution. . . . You have to be a member of Congress to put a bill on the desk of the Congress. And this has been a very strained period, believe me -- very strained. . . .

If there's anything wrong in this process, it is that the White House came up with this aggressive attitude -- either you do this or you can't go home, you know? And that doesn't go down with me very well at all.

. . . I remember the days when I was whip, back in 1981 and '82, when we had a new Republican president and we had a majority in the Senate. Those are the happiest days I can remember, as a matter of fact.