Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate who is also the ranking member of the Budget Committee, sent a letter to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) with other Senate Democrats decrying the decision to skip hearings as “overt partisanship.”
“This year, with no unusual circumstances to prevent us from doing our work, we have been provided with no reasonable explanation for the decision not to hold a hearing. Furthermore, this decision runs counter to repeated calls by the majority for regular order in the Senate,” the senators wrote in the letter to Enzi, who chairs the Budget Committee.
President Obama released his final budget request on Tuesday morning, a $4.1 trillion plan that includes a litany of liberal policy proposals that have little chance of becoming law.
Republicans in both chambers of Congress are opting to skip the traditional hearings on the budget request with Shaun Donovan, the White House’s budget director. Instead, the leaders of the House and Senate budget committees said they plan to focus on writing a budget that balances.
Senate Democrats in their letter said they are “disappointed” and “dismayed” with the GOP’s decision.
“The president’s budget is more than a political document; it is a compilation of the opinions of experts throughout the government,” Sanders and the Democratic senators wrote.
The letter comes after Democrats on the House Budget Committee sent a similar letter to Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who chairs the House committee.
In addition to Sanders, the letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Mark Warner (Va.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Tim Kaine (Va.) and by Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine).