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Nancy Pelosi Blasts Paul Ryan and John Boehner for Avoiding Budget Conference
Nancy Pelosi blasted Paul Ryan’s cowardly dodge away from the budget reconciliation process in her letter to Speaker John Boehner, demanding that the Speaker appoint conferees for a budget reconciliation conference and follow regular order. This letter comes on the heels of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s attempt to avoid reconciliation by calling for a pre-conference “framework”, the details of which were as sketchy as his budget.
Joining Pelosi in writing the letter were Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, and House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley.
The House Democratic leadership charged, “Republican leaders have repeatedly chastised the Senate for failing to approve a budget; now, the Senate has done its part. Republican leaders have called for regular order, demanding we allow Congress to work its will; Democratic leaders agree.”
They point out that the country can’t afford to sit around and wait for Ryan’s pre-conference “framework”, “We cannot afford to wait, as some Republicans have suggested, for a “framework agreement” before we begin talks. That is simply a recipe for further backroom negotiations, conducted behind closed doors, without the input of Members of Congress and out of view of our constituents. We must engage in a full, open, transparent process to produce a solution that best serves the interests and demands of the American people.”
The sequester is already taking a toll on us, especially as we face multiple security threats and disasters. House Democratic leadership points out in their letter, “There is no time to waste. Sequestration is already taking its toll on our investments in our national security, research, health, and economic growth. Congress has already missed the April 15th deadline to deliver a conference report on the budget.”
The leaders went on to state, “Again, our House Republican colleagues have said they want regular order and Democrats do too. Regular order is to name conferees and convene a conference committee now. That is how we can return to the negotiating table and reach an agreement focused on jobs, economic growth, balanced deficit reduction, and a strong, thriving middle class.”
Republicans are no doubt glad that their refusal to step up to the plate is being largely ignored as the nation pivots from tragedy to tragedy. But eventually they’re going to have to pay the piper. It’s time to put up or shut up.
Read the full letter here.