Udall, Heinrich Press Senate Leadership to Begin Bipartisan Budget Negotiations

Senate Democrats urge Leader McConnell to avoid unnecessary budget crisis this fall

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined the full Senate Democratic Caucus to urge Senate Republican leadership to schedule bipartisan budget negotiations immediately to prevent another budget crisis when the current fiscal year ends this fall. The call was made in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signed by all 46 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus. 

In the letter, Udall and Heinrich stressed their deep concern that, with less than two months left in the fiscal year, Leader McConnell has yet to schedule bipartisan negotiations to ensure a budget agreement is reached that keeps the federal government open and ends devastating across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration.”

“New Mexicans can't afford 11th-hour bargaining and political games that threaten jobs and our economy,” said Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. “Republicans and Democrats need to come together and negotiate a responsible budget that ends devastating across-the-board sequester cuts and helps boost New Mexico’s economy. Federal employees at our state’s national labs and military bases, seniors who count on their Social Security checks and families planning trips to our national parks all deserve certainty that the government will stay open this fall.”

“We can’t go back to limping from one self-made crisis to another. That’s no way to govern, and that’s not what New Mexicans expect from their government,” Heinrich said. “Republicans and Democrats must work together on a reasonable long-term plan to get our federal finances in order and avoid across-the-board sequester cuts that threaten our economy and middle class. We need a budget agreement that will support vital services for New Mexico children and seniors, our men and women in uniform, and our national laboratories. I will work with my colleagues to pass a budget that supports families and gives businesses the certainty they need to spend and invest in ways that will boost the economy and create jobs.”

Senate Democrats have asked Republican leadership to schedule bipartisan budget negotiations for months, yet the requests have been met with a lack of interest in addressing this serious issue.

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below:

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                              

Majority Leader                                                         

U.S. Senate                                                                

S-230 The Capitol                                                      

Washington, DC 20150                             

Dear Leader McConnell:

There are less than two months left in the fiscal year, and we are deeply concerned by the fact that negotiations to craft a bipartisan budget agreement have not yet begun. With the end of the fiscal year looming, we urge you to immediately schedule bipartisan budget negotiations so that we can work together over the coming weeks to avoid another manufactured crisis.

Inaction and failure to responsibly restore sequester-level cuts in FY16 appropriations bills will have real consequences for our country. That is why we are eager to start working as soon as possible to negotiate a compromise that will keep our nation and economy strong, and keep the government open.

With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period – just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year – to begin talks on a path forward. We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis.

We are ready and willing to work with you to produce a fair and balanced Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Therefore, we respectfully request you schedule the first round of these important negotiations as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Harry Reid

Richard J. Durbin

Charles E. Schumer

Patty Murray

Barbara Mikulski

Patrick J. Leahy

Dianne Feinstein

Barbara Boxer

Ron Wyden

Jack Reed

Bill Nelson

Tom Carper

Debbie Stabenow

Maria Cantwell

Robert Menendez

Ben Cardin

Bernie Sanders

Sherrod Brown

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Claire McCaskill

Amy Klobuchar

Sheldon Whitehouse

Jon Tester

Tom Udall

Jeanne Shaheen

Mark R. Warner

Jeff Merkley

Michael Bennet

Kirsten Gillibrand

Al Franken

Joe Manchin

Christopher Coons

Richard Blumenthal

Brian Schatz

Tammy Baldwin

Joe Donnelly

Chris Murphy

Mazie K. Hirono

Martin Heinrich

Tim Kaine

Angus King

Elizabeth Warren

Heidi Heitkamp

Edward J. Markey

Cory Booker

Gary Peters