Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Conrad Budget Plan Puzzling

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
“Everyone is scratching their head” over Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad moving a budget blueprint this week, a Democratic staffer said.

A Senate Republican aide said they are happy to have a budget debate, which will show that Senate Democrats are not serious about producing a real budget plan.

The aide added that the Conrad situation is the result of a split between Conrad, who has pushed to do his duty as Budget chairman, and Senate Democratic leaders, who want to avoid a budget debate in order to protect their Members from politically tough votes.

“I don’t blame [Conrad] for being frustrated,” the aide said. “Democratic leaders have shut him down at every turn.”

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said there is no divide between Conrad and Democratic leaders and that Conrad has made no secret of his desire to mark up a proposal.

The aide added that Conrad’s decision also reflects the administrative style of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who typically empowers committee chairmen to do their work, after which leaders decide what happens to the legislation.

“Sen. Conrad is in the best position to know how to run his committee,” the aide said.

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