Conrad’s opinion prime in budget negotiations

Kent Conra

FARGO – North Dakota’s senior senator made headlines over the weekend after voicing his position on a temporary solution to fund government operations through mid-March.

As Senate Budget Committee chairman, Democrat Kent Conrad has been at the heart of talks between the Senate and the House over a short-term continuing resolution to the budget.

Democratic and Republican leaders have been at odds over proposed cuts and whether they go too far or fall short of what’s necessary to begin addressing the nation’s fiscal challenges.

On Sunday, Conrad said a temporary measure offered by House Republicans was “acceptable.” The two-week spending bill aims to avoid a government shutdown in the interim, as congressional leaders debate the details of a more long-term solution that would fund government operations through September.

The House Republicans’ proposal “cuts $1.24 billion by terminating programs targeted for cuts in Obama’s 2012 budget request and finds the other $2.7 billion in savings by defunding earmarks,” The Hill reported.

Conrad appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday to discuss the current budget situation and his thoughts on the GOP proposal. While Conrad backs the GOP proposal to prevent a shutdown, he said it “is not the way to go.”

“I think there should be a longer-term agreement,” Conrad said. “And the big problem is we’re focusing on just a small part of the budget. Only 12 percent of the budget is being considered for a reduction. If we’re going to ultimately solve this problem, we’re going to have to do much more.”

Watch the interview here:

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