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Letter to Harry Reid, Majority Leader of the Senate - Making Public the Senate Democratic Budget


Location: Washington, DC

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We were pleased to learn last week that you ultimately decided against adjourning the Senate for this entire week. We must address the nation's overspending and debt, and ward off what has been called the "most predictable economic crisis" in our nation's history. By forgoing a recess week, the Senate was given an opportunity to begin this necessary work immediately.

Yet, to date, no budget work has been scheduled. The week began with the scheduling of a vote and debate on a Libya resolution--a resolution withdrawn after objections were raised that the cancelled recess should be used solely for overdue work on the budget and debt ceiling.

Tomorrow marks the 800th day since the Democrat-led Senate passed a budget--a fundamental blueprint that establishes overall spending levels and presents a concrete plan for America's fiscal future. Since this chamber last adopted a budget, the federal government has spent $7.3 trillion, made $439 billion in interest payments, and increased the nation's debt by $3.2 trillion. This is an alarming record that cannot be justified to the American people.

To date, Republicans have offered a number of proposals to reduce and control spending, including a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. We understand Budget Committee Chairman Conrad recognizes the very serious dangers posed by our nation's debt, and we share his eagerness to get to work in addressing it. However, as we understand it, the Chairman's latest budget--announced last week--has, like those prior to it, only been unveiled to his Democratic colleagues with no scheduled action on it.

We ask that you, as Majority Leader, call for the latest Democratic budget to immediately be made public, in all of its detail, and brought through the statutorily-mandated legislative process. This will allow a meaningful debate and amendment process to unfold before the American people. If our colleagues wish to raise taxes or propose spending cuts, the American people have a right to see that plan on paper. Senators have a legitimate expectation that they will be able to review and amend it. In the event this does not occur, and the Senate continues to be disallowed by the majority from working on matters relating to the budget, spending, and the debt ceiling, we will continue to reserve our right to object to Senate consideration of items unrelated to the most pressing issue of the day.

In order to meet our nation's financial obligations, this body must meet its obligation to the American people to do the work we were sent here to do.

Very truly yours,

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