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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

One Week Past Budget Deadline, Pocan Urges House Republicans to Stop Blocking Budget Process

Apr 22, 2013
Press Release

MADISON, WI – One week after Congress missed its legal deadline to pass a final budget, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today called on Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans to stop blocking the budget process. Last week, Pocan sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner with his fellow House Budget Committee Democrats urging the Speaker to immediately appoint budget conferees so Congress can move forward and pass a final budget that lays out our national priorities.

The legal deadline for Congress to pass a budget was April 15.

“The people of Wisconsin and the nation deserve a federal budget that reflects our values and lays out our priorities—just like we produce in Wisconsin every year,” said Pocan, who served on the Joint Finance Committee in the Wisconsin State Assembly for six years. “Without a new, comprehensive federal budget, we cannot respond to emerging needs, cut wasteful programs or invest in new initiatives that support economic growth and our middle class families. Unfortunately, if my Republican colleagues refuse to appoint conferees, any progress toward a finalized budget will be halted. I urge my colleagues to come to the table and work on a budget solution that promotes American prosperity and job creation.”

Normal legislative procedure dictates that since the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have passed separate budgets, they convene a conference committee to work out the differences. Despite repeated calls in the past by House Republicans for the Senate to complete a budget, they are refusing to appoint conferees, and are now the only party standing in the way of advancing the budget process.

“There are significant differences in opinion on how to best set the budget on a sustainable path, strengthen the economy and create well-paying jobs, and strengthen the programs providing the modest benefits that allow our seniors to live with dignity.  Yet, despite those disparate views, there is no excuse for dysfunction in Congress, and there can be no justification for the failure to engage in a meaningful attempt to find common ground,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

“It is the responsibility of Congress to complete its business on time,” they said. “For so many Americans struggling to make ends meet, there can be no further delay.  On behalf of these men and women, we respectfully request that you proceed with appointments to a conference committee on the budget resolution.”
 
 
The full text of the letter is below.
 
April 17, 2013
 
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Speaker Boehner,
 
We write today to strongly urge the immediate appointment of conferees to negotiate a Fiscal Year 2014 reconciled budget resolution with the United States Senate.  Last month, the Senate joined the House of Representatives in passing a Concurrent Resolution on the budget.  Now that President Obama has provided his spending blueprint for the approaching fiscal year, it is the responsibility of both chambers to promptly organize a conference committee and proceed with budget deliberations under regular order.
 
Clearly, there are aspects of all three proposals that will elicit strong debate between chambers and across the political spectrum.  However, the American people, many of whom are still enduring the effects of an economy in recovery, deserve no less than an honest and serious effort by the House and Senate to reconcile differences and move our nation forward by enacting a budget.
 
There are significant differences in opinion on how to best set the budget on a sustainable path, strengthen the economy and create well-paying jobs, and strengthen the programs providing the modest benefits that allow our seniors to live with dignity.  Yet, despite those disparate views, there is no excuse for dysfunction in Congress, and there can be no justification for the failure to engage in a meaningful attempt to find common ground.
 
The joint statement issued by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan regarding efforts to proceed with regular order was an encouraging step.  Section 301 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets a statutory deadline of April 15 for Congress to complete action on adopting a joint budget resolution conference report– a deadline that Congress has already missed.  It is the responsibility of Congress to complete its business on time.  For so many Americans struggling to make ends meet, there can be no further delay.  On behalf of these men and women, we respectfully request that you proceed with appointments to a conference committee on the budget resolution.

Sincerely,

Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Ranking Member

David Cicilline (RI-01)

Allyson Schwartz (PA-13)

John Yarmuth (KY-03)

Bill Pascrell (NJ-08)

Tim Ryan (OH-17)

Gwen Moore (WI-04)

Kathy Castor (FL-11)

Jim McDermott (WA-07)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)

Mark Pocan (WI-02)

Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)

Jared Huffman (CA-02)

Tony Cardenas (CA-29)

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Kurt Schrader (OR-05)


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