U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, released a letter today from all Budget Committee Republican members to incoming Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) regarding the Committee's schedule for the upcoming year.
Text of the Senators' letter follows:
"Dear Chairman Murray:
We were pleased that you have indicated a desire to hold regular Budget Committee hearings. As you consider the agenda for the year, the Republican members would like for you to consider a vigorous hearing and mark-up schedule. The early part of the year is always busy for the Budget Committee and our current unsustainable debt path makes our work even more important. The suggested schedule we offer below would result in regular meetings and a timeline that leads to the completion of a budget resolution in accordance with the statutory requirements.
We believe the Budget Committee cannot be a bystander at this historic time when the nation will be confronting the most serious debt issues. We must take the steps necessary to avoid what Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have told our committee will be the "the most predictable economic crisis in history." The work of our committee, and the process of marking up a budget, will play an important role in helping the Congress and the nation find our way through this dangerous period.
We believe that an open, fact-driven analysis of our situation as part of the lawfully required budget process will be good for America. Our requests and suggestions are not for an easy schedule but for a challenging one. The people deserve no less. Substance must override politics.
We pledge to be active and positive contributors to this work. There will be clear policy differences, but what better place (or more important time) can there be to deal with them than in the committee that is charged with setting out a fiscal plan annually for the United States.
This schedule assumes, we must note, the formal marking-up of a budget as annually called for by the Budget Act of 1974. We believe that work on a Senate budget is an essential prerequisite of any fiscal reform that takes place this year.
There remains a strong desire among senators to serve on this committee because members still see it as the forum for meeting the great challenge of our time. Still, if our committee fails to do important work, its value will surely be diminished. That must not happen. We look forward to working with you and believe the following is an agenda that would allow us to fulfill the fundamental duties of the Budget Committee:
There is no further schedule information for the Senate past the week of October 14, 2013. Additional hearings could be added as the Senate schedule becomes clearer.
Thank you for your consideration of these suggestions. We look forward to a productive year as we confront the extraordinary fiscal dangers threatening our country.
Very truly yours,
Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member