Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, pledged Monday to hold up the Senate’s upcoming Memorial Day recess until Democrats produce a budget proposal.
“If we are going to close down this chamber for another week without having produced a budget — without having even scheduled a committee meeting — then I am going to force a vote on it,” Sessions said in remarks on the Senate floor.
“Paul Ryan is leading,” he added. “Speaker Boehner is leading. House Republicans are leading. But Senate Democrats, who control this chamber — who asked for this job — are refusing to allow a budget to move forward. They are refusing to share with the American people the contents of the plan they crafted behind closed doors — a plan they claim exists in some form.”
The Senate is scheduled to adjourn for Memorial Day recess Thursday, the same day that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has tentatively scheduled votes on two budget resolutions: the budget proposal drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and passed by the House last month, and President Obama’s 2012 budget blueprint.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said last week that Senate Democrats will wait to release a budget plan of their own until the bipartisan group being led by Vice President Biden produces a long-term plan on addressing the country’s debt problem. Sessions’s move Monday was a response to Conrad’s announcement; it also followed criticism by Sessions and other Republicans last week that it has been more than 750 days since the Senate has passed a budget.
In addition to vowing to block the Senate from adjourning for Memorial Day recess, Sessions also said Monday that he would oppose any unanimous consent agreement for “any pre-arranged package of votes” on the budget such as those slated to be taken by the Senate this week.
“Anyone can call up these budget votes, consistent with the rules, anytime they wish,” Sessions said. “But a package deal that wastes this Senate’s time, I cannot and will not support. The majority leader is wasting the American people’s time. I am here to speak honestly and tell the truth.”
Earlier Monday, all 47 Republican senators sent a letter to Reid calling on Senate Democrats to produce a fiscal 2012 budget.