Days before a likely markup of Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad’s budget blueprint, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee is unloading on the North Dakota chairman, blasting his plan to release the budget only minutes before it is marked up in committee.
Conrad “indicated to me he was not going to comply with the request of all the Republican members that there be 72 hours …. that a short time before the hearing, maybe the morning of the hearing that we’d get some sort of briefing, I would, maybe not the rest of the members, then we’d start the markup of the bill,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top GOP lawmaker on the Budget Committee, in an interview with The Daily Caller.
In protesting the cloaked process by which Conrad has deliberated over the budget – including meetings with a “gang of six” in cloistered Capitol hideaways – Republicans appear to have diverted Democrats from skipping the Budget Committee altogether, Sessions said.
“Apparently it was discussed. That was not just a rumor,” Sessions said, “I think we would have had a real brouhaha over that.” A spokesman for Conrad did not reply to a request for comment.
Sessions, who has taken an increasingly high-profile role representing the GOP on high-stakes spending battles in the upper chamber, decried in general the idea of small, clubby “gangs” of senators laboring to strike bipartisan spending out of the public