The leaders of the new House-Senate budget conference immediately clashed over taxes during their first meeting on Wednesday.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are sharply divided over whether the negotiators should consider a tax increase in a budget deal.

Murray said that Republicans must agree to close “tax loopholes” as part of any deal to replace the automatic sequester cuts.

“I am going into this budget conference ready to agree to some tough spending cuts that, unlike the sequester caps that disappear in 2022, would be permanently locked into law,” she said.

“But compromise runs both ways. While we scour programs to find responsible savings, Republicans are also going to have to work with us to scour the bloated tax code — and close some wasteful tax loopholes and special interest subsidies. Because it is unfair — and unacceptable — to ask seniors and families to bear this burden alone.”

Ryan, however, said that, “if this conference becomes an argument about taxes, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

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