Sen. Ted Cruz accused Senate Democrats Wednesday of doing nothing to reduce the federal debt but everything to increase more spending on government programs.
The Texas Republican fired away at Democrats during a Senate Budget Committee hearing when Chairwoman Patty Murray offered a motion to form a conference committee with the House to work out their competing budget proposals, The Hill reported.
Cruz, who has made his opposition to a conference committee well known, refused to support the motion unless it included instructions for conference members if an agreement that would bust the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling was not reached. Because of increased revenues this year, the Treasury is not expected to default on the current debt until later this fall or, according to more recent estimates, perhaps early next year.
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"If you think it's OK that Senate Democrats want to borrow more while doing nothing, nada, zilch on the debt . . . then you should welcome this motion," Cruz told his colleagues on the panel. "I would suggest that is irresponsible."
In response, Murray urged senators not to delay in raising the debt limit, suggesting that the government is faced with defaulting in October as some predict, Congress may not have much time to deal with issue after being away from Washington during its month-long recess through August and into early September.
"I urge the Senate Republican leadership to drop the tea party-backed strategy of delaying until the next crisis," Murray said, according to The Hill.
Cruz's effort to block a conference committee on the budget also has angered some in his own party, who believe he is disrupting the Senate's regular order of joining with the House to work out differences on budget matters. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, the Hill reported, have urged the "minority in the minority" to drop their opposition.
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