Senate Democrats are looking to paint a recent Republican fracas between Senator Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sens. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as further evidence of an obstructionist GOP whose recalcitrance is bogging down budget negotiations.
When Paul and Cruz called to block Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)’s (D-WA) unanimous consent request to move to a budget conference, McCain blasted members of his own party:
For four years, four years, we complained about the fact that the Majority Leader… would refuse to bring a budget to the floor of the United States Senate… all of us patted each other on the back and we were so proud we did the budget and by golly, now we’ll move with the House of Representatives and we will have a budget– hopefully at least begin negotiations with the House of Representatives…
So what do we keep doing? What are we on my side of the aisle keep doing? We don’t want a budget unless we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented.
If my colleagues on this side of the aisle think that we are helping our cause as fiscal conservatives by blocking going to a conference on the budget, which every family in America has to be on, because of certain requirements that they demand, then we are not helping ourselves with the American people at all.
Cruz fired back at McCain on Wednesday: “The senior senator from Arizona [McCain] urged this body to trust the Republicans.” Cruz explained, “Let me be clear, I don’t trust the Republicans. I don’t trust the Democrats and I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don’t trust the Republicans or the Democrats because it is leadership in both parties that has got us into this mess.”
Murray attempted to leverage the squabble to paint Republicans–not Democrats–as the party standing in the way to the Senate finally moving forward on a budget after years of inaction:
It has now been 59 days since the Senate and House have both passed our budget resolutions. The American people are now expecting us to get together and do everything possible to bridge the partisan divide and come to a bipartisan deal–and Senate Democrats are ready to get to work…
…instead of scrambling to find new excuses for their budget conference flip-flops, Senate Republicans should realize that their opposition to bipartisan negotiations is simply not sustainable and should come back to the table.
The Democrat-controlled Senate has not passed a budget since 2009.