Republicans Debate Their Options on 2017 Budget

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House Speaker Paul Ryan is urging Republican lawmakers to respect the 2017 spending levels set in last fall’s budget deal, but continuing opposition from some conservatives has raised the possibility that Congress might not pass a budget resolution this year.

Failure to pass such a resolution for the coming fiscal year would undermine the congressional budget process from the very start and ruin Ryan’s plan to restore “regular order” in that process. He reportedly told House Republicans late last week that failing to pass a budget resolution would be a shame.

In recent years the congressional budget process has repeatedly broken down. The results: Late spending decisions, shutdown threats and the unfortunate reliance on “continuing resolutions” that merely maintain current spending levels.

Last fall’s budget deal provided for some additional defense and domestic spending beyond tight “sequestration” levels set years earlier.

Speaking last week about the spending levels set last fall, Ryan said: “We believe that in order to have a good working, viable appropriations  process we’re going to appropriate to those numbers.”

In a meeting Friday with House Republicans, he reportedly argued that this was the best of several options because abandoning the spending levels set last fall would guarantee Senate opposition and another budget impasse. But after the meeting some Republicans continued to voice opposition to those levels.

External links:
Ryan Lays Out Budget Options to Divided House Republicans (AP)
Why Ryan’s Budget Deal Could Go Down in Flames (Fiscal Times)

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