U.S. Sen. Patty Murray Thursday declared her plan to seek the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee, a post that would move her closer to the looming debate about the nation’s long-term fiscal policy.
Murray hopes to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of
Nebraska North Dakota. She now is the No. 2 Democrat on the panel, which is responsible for producing an annual blueprint for how much money the federal government should bring in and spend.
But Senate Democrats have not passed a regular budget since 2009 in part because of deep ideological differences with Republicans, particularly those in the House, about spending priorities.
Largely as a consequence, the federal government for the past two years has been operating on a series of stopgap spending bills.
Committee leadership decisions won’t be finalized until after Thanksgiving, but Murray is certain to get her wish.
In return, Murray will give up her chairmanship of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, though she will remain a member of the panel. She is expected to remain as chairwoman of two Senate subcommittees, one under the Appropriations Committee and the other in the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.