WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass a budget without using any procedural tricks to raise taxes or increase the debt limit. The Majority Leader does not deny that his intent to use a back-door procedure that would allow the Democrats to raise taxes and the debt limit under a 50-vote threshold, rather than the typical 60-vote threshold.
“We have no objection to proceeding to conference if the leader is willing to agree not to use it as a back-door tool to raise taxes or the debt ceiling. We should not be complicit in digging this nation even further into debt on merely a 50-vote threshold,” the senators said. “After refusing to pass a budget for four years, Democrats have proven themselves willing to abuse the budget process, including sneaking in provisions to add new taxes or raise the debt ceiling. The American people deserve assurances from Senator Reid that he will not try to hijack this bill and add tax hikes and more debt at the eleventh hour. Sneaking in a debt limit increase would be particularly egregious because it is not a part of either the House- or Senate-passed budgets.”
Knowing that under special rules a budget is not subject to a filibuster, members of Congress have in the past added measures to the budget during a budget conference that they know could not withstand a 60-vote threshold in the Senate.
Senators Lee, Cruz and Paul have indicated they plan to object to beginning the budget reconciliation process until Senator Reid agrees not to use procedural tricks to pass new tax increases or a debt limit increase.