The U.S. House of Representatives left town for a one week recess without agreeing to a budget resolution to govern FY17 budget year. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA) presented a budget plan to the House Republican Conference on March 3 and urged them to support it when Congress returns. Their budget resolution would respect the higher spending level for FY17 agreed to in the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA)” that raised spending caps above sequester levels.
The House Freedom Caucus has balked at the $30 billion increase in discretionary spending that the BBA allowed and demanded offsets elsewhere. To entice ultra conservative House Members to support their budget resolutions, Republican leaders are proposing a separate bill to cut mandatory spending, including cuts to Medicaid, by $30 billion over two years. They are also promising a series of policy riders that would appeal to the objectors.
It remains to be seen if the deal will garner enough votes to pass. Without a budget resolution, it is unclear how the House will proceed on completing its FY17 appropriations bill in a timely manner.
In other budget news, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released its FY17 “Peoples’ Budget” on March 3. The CPC calls for increased spending in a wide range of domestic priorities, including a $1 trillion infrastructure investment and $11 billion to end family homelessness. To read the proposed budget, go to http://cpc-grijalva.house.gov/the-peoples-budget-prosperity-not-austerity-invest-in-america/