Late in the week of June 13, the Senate Committee on the Budget announced plans to move forward on its FY12 budget resolution. The Committee has been waiting to mark up an FY12 budget resolution until one of the several bipartisan deficit reduction plans was completed.
Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) is a member of the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators that have been meeting since fall of 2010 to craft a deficit reduction plan. Senator Conrad originally planned to use this plan as the framework for a Senate budget resolution. After the group lost one member - Senator Tom Coburn - in May, Senator Conrad announced his intention to wait to craft a Senate budget resolution until after another group of bipartisan lawmakers, convened by Vice President Joseph Biden, completed its negotiations. These negotiations are expected to conclude by the time Congress goes on the July 4 recess.
However, on June 16, Senator Conrad’s hopes for a comprehensive deficit reduction plan shifted back to the Gang of Six. He announced his intention to accelerate release of a proposal from the group, fearing the Vice President’s negotiations will not result in substantive proposals to address the deficit. Senator Conrad now plans to use the Gang of Six proposal to achieve $4 trillion in savings drawn equally from revenues and spending. This plan is now being discussed among Senate Democrats.
The Budget Committee could still wait to release its plan until after the Vice President’s negotiations are complete or it could release its resolution earlier. The Senate may have two deficit reduction proposals to evaluate simultaneously during July.
The House Committee on the Budget passed its FY12 budget resolution in April, approved its 302b subcommittee allocations in May, and has scheduled mark ups of a T-HUD bill in the appropriations T-HUD subcommittee and full appropriations committee for July (see Memo, 4/15 and 5/13).