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Obama Chief Of Staff Blames GOP Congress For No Budget

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew tells "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory that Republicans in Congress should be blamed for the fact that a budget has not been passed in over 1,000 days.

"Congress didn't do a great job last year," Lew told Gregory. "I actually think it's unfair to blame the United States Senate for that. A lot of that was because of the extreme conservative approach taken by House Republicans."

Democrats had commanding majorities in the House and Senate for the first two years of President Obama's administration. A transcript of the exchange is below.

President Obama's budget last year was rejected by both parties in the Senate by a vote of 97-0.

David Gregory, moderator of "Meet the Press" on NBC: Here's a stat that a lot of people may not know but is pretty striking: The number of days since Senate Democrats passed a budget is 1,019. Can you just explain as a former Budget Director, how do you fund the government when there's no budget?

Jack Lew, Obama's Chief of Staff: Well, one of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people realized is that it takes 60, not 50 votes to pass something. And there has been Republican opposition to anything that Senate Democrats have tried to do. So it is a challenge in the United States Senate to pass legislation when there's not that willingness to work together.

Congress didn't do a great job last year. It drove right to the edge of the cliff on occasion after occasion. I actually think it's unfair to blame the United States Senate for that. A lot of that was because of the extreme conservative approach taken by House Republicans.

Gregory: Your party controls the Senate, does it not?

Lew: Yeah, but the positions that ended up tying the Congress in knots came out of the House, came out of the Tea Party wing in the House.

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