Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) says the pressure is on the group of representatives and senators working out budget differences before December 13. That’s the date a conference report on the budget is due.
Coats says Americans are tired of the congressional impasse, and the two chambers working together is what he calls the “last chance.”
“This is how we end this soap opera drama of going right up to the cliff, throwing a huge amount of uncertainty into our economy,” he says. “People are frozen in place. Consumer confidence is at an all-time low – that affects our spending and economic growth.”
The conference committee includes four Republicans and three Democrats from the House, and 12 Democrats and Independents and 10 Republicans from the Senate.
Coats says after this month’s government shutdown and the threat of future shutdowns, it’s time to put politics aside.
“We have a lot of work to do between now and mid-December, but I don’t think the American people are going to give us much more rope if we come back to them and say, ‘Oh, well. We’ve moved this to March. Just don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.’”
He thinks there will be a “real backlash” from voters if the budget issue is not resolved. Coats says the election next year might spur members of Congress to action.
“But I think there’s enough at stake here, so that both sides have to come together in a sensible way to say, ‘Whatever we do, we just can’t keep this economy hostage to our inability to come to some kind of a budget agreement,’” he says.
The Senate approved a spending bill that totals $1.06 trillion, while the House version is $967 billion.