But now that Senate Democrats have followed through and passed a budget, Republicans in both the House and Senate have rebuked efforts to form a budget conference meant to hammer out the differences between the Senate budget and the plan passed by House Republicans. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) blocked Senate efforts to form a conference last month; Monday, it was Cruz who blocked Reid’s effort to go to conference because he wanted to first ensure that the committee would neither consider new revenues nor a debt ceiling increase.
“The senator from Texas was on the losing side. He had his view, and it lost. But now he wants us to agree by consent to adopt the losing side’s view or else he’s not going to let us go to conference,” Reid said, adding that Cruz was “like a schoolyard bully” who “pushes everybody around” when he is losing. “Why are my Republican colleagues so afraid?” Reid asked. “We have our differences but Democrats aren’t afraid to work out those differences.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, have both said they wouldn’t enter conference until both sides agreed on a “framework” for those negotiations. But Cruz made it clear what that framework meant: the GOP will again demand that a final budget document includes only spending reductions and no new revenue, the same demand they have made — and that Democrats have met more than once — in previous negotiations over deficits and debt. Any new deal, in fact, would have to find 90 percent of its deficit reduction from revenue to bring balance to overall reduction efforts since President Obama took office.
So after spending four years demanding a budget, Republican intransigence on revenues is now causing them to block negotiations that could actually lead to one.