House Budget Negotiations Off to Rocky Start

With President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal now released to the public, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have begun hashing out what Roll Call sees as nearly “insurmountable” differences.

Writes Lindsey McPherson, “Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed to those topline numbers if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions.”

Meanwhile, even if Republicans were able to convince members of the panel to go along with higher spending levels, “the measure would likely still face opposition from a majority of the 67 House Republicans who voted against the budget deal. Moreover, McPherson notes, “without Democratic support, which GOP budget resolutions never get, it would take only 23 Republicans to stop it from passing on the floor.”

Finally, complicating proceedings further still, the Senate is not expected to pass a budget this year “because leaders have ruled out using the reconciliation process to advance GOP priorities with their slim 51-seat majority.” The use of reconciliation was instrumental in the most recent budget resolutions passed out of the House.

But new House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR) maintains an optimistic outlook, saying, “The passage of the Bipartisan budget act in no way precludes us from passing a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. It simply would put into place guardrails necessary for the Committee to do its work. Writing a budget is a fundamental responsibility of Congress, and as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I am wholly committed to fulfilling that duty.”

 

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: budget, Congress

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