House Budget Resolution Delayed Amid Persistent Discord

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The budget resolution favored by House Republican leaders remains in doubt despite its winning approval on a 20-16 vote in the Budget Committee last week. Hopes for a full House vote this week have fallen by the wayside, with the GOP leadership now indicating that vote won’t happen until mid-April.

Some Republican conservatives — notably members of the House Freedom Caucus — oppose the proposed resolution because it abides by a bipartisan agreement last fall to loosen caps on discretionary spending that many lawmakers in both parties consider too tight.

An additional $30 billion in discretionary spending is at stake for Fiscal 2017, with the proposed resolution also calling for consideration of $30 billion in entitlement cuts over two years. Some Republicans want a guarantee the entitlement cuts will actually be made.

Congressional leaders have repeatedly said they want a more orderly budget process this year that would include timely passage of all 12 required appropriations bills. Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, says upholding last fall’s agreement — as the House leadership’s draft resolution does — would give Congress a better chance of passing those bills before the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

On the negative side, however, the proposed resolution relies on dubious expectations of large cuts to mandatory spending programs that target benefits to low-income individuals, complete elimination of Obamacare spending while maintaining its tax increases and Medicare reductions, and a reduction in domestic discretionary spending — already low by historical standards — of 40 percent below 2017 levels as a share of the economy. 

External links:
Why There’s Trouble Ahead for Ryan’s Budget (Fiscal Times)

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