House Budget Chair Plans Work on Budget Resolution

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House Budget Chair Tom Price (R-Ga.) says his committee will consider tomorrow a budget resolution favored by GOP leaders and introduced today despite insistent opposition from some Republican lawmakers to discretionary spending levels that were set in a bipartisan agreement last fall.

Price wanted his committee to vote on the budget resolution late last month but postponed that because some Republicans objected to its abiding by funding levels set in the fall deal. That agreement raised the cap on Fiscal 2017 discretionary spending by $30 billion beyond the “sequestration” cap specified in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). Even with this increase, though, the 2017 cap would remain below the original BCA cap.

The Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House are planning votes on $30 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the next two years —  and $100 billion over the next decade — in an effort to win support from GOP lawmakers who have been reluctant to agree to the discretionary caps set last fall.

However, those lawmakers want a guarantee that the mandatory spending cuts will be enacted, which is unlikely given Democratic opposition to them. On Monday night the conservative Freedom Caucus announced continued opposition to the budget resolution plan.

A number of budget experts, including Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby, say upholding last fall’s agreement would give Congress a better chance of agreeing on all 12 appropriations bills before Fiscal 2017 begins Oct. 1.

Without those bills, a continuing resolution will be needed once again to avoid a government shutdown in the fall. A continuing resolution generally extends current spending levels for a specific period, regardless of changing needs and priorities.

External links:
Proposed House Budget Resolution
Freedom Caucus Votes to Block GOP Budget Plans (The Hill)
House Faces Tangled Calculus in Budget Push (N.Y. Times)

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