Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I read with great interest the recent opinion piece on congressional budget negotiations written by my good friend Kent Conrad, our former colleague here in the Senate and distinguished chair of the Budget Committee.
I have been fortunate to serve in this Chamber for the past 38 years with principled leaders like Kent Conrad. I was elected to the Senate in 1974, the same year the Congressional Budget Act passed into law, and I have served here with all of the Budget Committee chairs--from Edmund Muskie to Patty Murray.
I think Kent Conrad is right that at this critical juncture we need to have a grown-up discussion about our Nation's finances--both about the debts we incur and the ways in which we pay for them. We have all heard a lot of talk in the last few years about getting our fiscal house in order. It makes for a great campaign slogan. But I am afraid that too many are not following through on their responsibility to govern.
After jumping from one manufactured crisis to another for the past few years, which has hurt the U.S. economy and America's standing in the world, it is time for reason and sanity to return to the Senate--on the budget process, on nominations, and on a whole host of other issues. Returning to regular order on the budget conference--and letting conference members from the House and the Senate work out a final agreement free from rigid ideological positions--would be a good first step to bringing some comity and order back to this body so we can serve the American people.
I remain ready to work with people on both sides of the aisle in the hopes that we can find a workable budget solution in the coming weeks, and I suggest that everyone heed the calls for bipartisanship and compromise made by Senator Conrad.
With that, I ask unanimous consent that Kent Conrad's full opinion piece from the October 24, 2013, Washington Post be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
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