At the end of a nine-hour mark-up on March 16, the House Budget Committee passed an FY17 budget resolution by a vote of 20-16. All 14 Democrats and two Republican members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus opposed the resolution.
By week’s end, the prospects of taking the resolution to the full House were dim as it is unlikely to get past both Democratic and Freedom Caucus objections. Media reports indicate that the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) may forego any consideration of an FY17 budget resolution altogether and simply move to annual appropriations without any enforceable spending limits. In fact, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs is scheduled to mark-up its FY17 appropriations bill on March 23.
The FY17 resolution as passed continues to include the $30 billion in increased discretionary funding (sequester relief) provided for in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, but makes drastic cuts to both mandatory and non-defense discretionary programs in the future. In its budget narrative, the committee is particularly critical of anti-poverty programs and cites HUD as having 22 duplicative programs. The CDBG program comes in for particular criticism for its “far-flung mission (that) reduces the program’s effectiveness and duplicates other programs that HUD or other agencies already operate.” On the other hand, the narrative applauds the greater flexibility that Moving to Work affords public housing agencies.
Read the proposed FY17 House budget resolution at http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fy2017_a_balanced_budget_for_a_stronger_america.pdf.