House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen said conservative Republicans should relax their demands for budget reforms in negotiating a debt limit increase.
He added that he’s optimistic that the group will put forth a plan. “Look, I have spent eight months on the commission — the [president’s] fiscal commission,” he said. “I have spent five months in this negotiation. I wouldn’t have spent all this time if I didn’t think there was a serious chance of reaching an agreement.”
Conrad said he was not prepared to weigh in on a proposal that would cap deficits, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed. Conrad said he first needs to see the details, but ultimately he wants a comprehensive plan that includes tax and spending reforms.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, appearing on the same program, challenged Conrad’s bipartisan group to release an alternative to the budget resolution authored by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which the lower chamber passed along party lines last month.
“We’ve got an unsustainable system when it comes to Medicare,” the South Carolina Republican said. “What Paul Ryan did, he saved it from what I believe to be a complete failure over time. If you can get a better way to do it, do it. But just criticizing someone who is trying to fix a problem doesn’t impress me. You’ve got a better alternative, put it on the floor and let’s vote on it.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.