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Girding for a federal budget battle royale, parties wrangle over rules

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So it may appear slightly hypocritical at first blush that Republicans objected to Senator Reid’s request.

Republicans said the Nevadan’s move was little more than a “stunt,” in the words of a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio. The GOP still wants a budget, lawmakers in both houses said Tuesday – they just want to clarify what the rules of the negotiating road will be before they start the process of hammering out differences between the deeply divergent visions for the nation’s finances.

“We need a conference,” says Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama, the ranking conservative on the Senate Budget Committee. “But it’s certainly preferable that we have some understanding of what it’s going to be like before we go. There are a lot of concerns there.”

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D) of Washington and her House counterpart, Chairman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin are discussing how, exactly, the process should go forward.

Why is this agreement such a key concern?

Last week, Speaker Boehner laid out the political importance of having the two budget chairs reach a deal.

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