Republican leaders of the House Budget Committee hope to vote on a FY18 budget resolution this week, even as House GOP members continue to disagree on overall fiscal policy. The Republican proposal would cut nondefense discretionary spending to $511 billion, $5 billion below the current spending limit for FY18. Such cuts could reduce critical funding for federal affordable housing and homelessness programs.
The proposal would increase the cap for defense spending to $621.5 billion—$72.5 billion above the FY18 limit—and would require at least $150 billion in cuts to mandatory spending over 10 years. The resolution will also likely pave the way for Republican-led tax reform efforts.
The current spending limits were put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The Committee’s plan to raise defense spending beyond the BCA’s statutory limit would require Congress to reach a bipartisan budget agreement to lift the caps and avoid automatic spending cuts, as lawmakers have done in the past. In 2015, Congress reached an agreement to increase the spending caps for FY16 and FY17.
Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have stated that the current spending caps are unworkable and could set up the FY18 appropriations process for failure.
Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), a senior member on the House Appropriations Committee, agreed that a budget deal is needed because the current spending caps are too low. “We need to get rid of sequestration,” she said, referring to the mandatory defense and nondefense spending cuts required under the BCA. It remains unclear, however, if and when lawmakers will begin negotiating a deal to lift the caps or end sequestration.