I happened to catch on C-SPAN the House and Senate negotiator’s first formal meeting of the Fiscal Budget Conference Committee which took place on Wednesday, October 13, 2013.
It was ‘heartening’ (as some said) to see Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to candidly talk about their differences with a resolve to find common ground. So heartening it was that one Senator said, “I wish all the American people could see this.” It was a stark contrast to all the bickering and talking past each other that’s been so prevalent far too long (I hope Ted Cruz was watching and taking notes). Another Senator said he learned that the only other time the U.S. government was as dysfunctional as it is now was before the Articles of Confederation were written, and quoted President Lincoln who said in essence, new challenges require new thinking.
The budget reform panel was mandated in the bill that raised the debt ceiling and ended the government shutdown.
The bipartisan, bicameral Conference included all members of the Senate Budget Committee, and the Chairman and Ranking Members on the House side. Negotiators have until December 13 to find a budget compromise or face the likelihood of another government shutdown in mid-January when funding for the government runs out.
Negotiators seemed focused on finding ways to replace across the board spending cuts known as sequestration.
Watch the entire two hours and 28 and a half minutes of the session: