Congress returns from its Presidents’ Day recess on February 23. The House of Representatives will continue its debate about whether or not there will be an FY17 budget resolution and what it will contain. According to media reports, House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA) expects to bring a budget resolution before his committee by Thursday, February 25.
At issue is what the top line discretionary spending amount will be in the budget resolution. The “Bipartisan Budget Act” (BBA) of 2015 (see Memo, 11/09/2015) lifted the sequester caps for FY16 and FY17. Under BBA, $30 billion more is available for FY17 than would have been under the sequester. Ultra-conservative House Republicans have demanded that the FY17 budget resolution not include the $30 billion. This would cause the FY17 appropriations process to stall out, denying House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) his goal of passing all 12 appropriations bills by October 1.
Chair Price is said to be negotiating a variety of cuts, including to entitlement programs, to offset the $30 billion in increased discretionary spending. Any such cuts would face near certain rejection in the Senate.
Meanwhile, House appropriations subcommittees have scheduled no fewer than 21 hearings on various programs for the week of February 22.