Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that House Republicans will, in fact, produce a budget resolution this year.
Speaker John Boehner said so last month. But doubts persisted, and some Republicans even suggested it would be better not to do one.
But in a memo sent out Friday by Cantor to fellow House Republicans about the remaining March and April agenda, he wrote, “We owe it to the American people to demonstrate how we will allocate their tax dollars and balance the budget.”
The House doesn’t necessarily have to touch the budget issue, because the two-year budget agreement already set top-line numbers for 2015. Democrats who control the Senate already have said they won’t pass their own budget resolution.
However, without specifying a date for when the House will actually vote on such a spending blueprint, Cantor in his memo went on to write, “While the president’s budget blows past the spending limit previously agreed to, the House Republican budget, under the leadership of [Budget Committee] Chairman Paul Ryan, will adhere to the agreed-upon spending limits and balance in 10 years.” Three other bills touching on budget reform also will be taken up, he said.
Still, Cantor’s announcement comes amid nagging questions about whether such a plan could pass in the House, and whether Republicans should — or even have to — produce a budget as they head toward November’s elections.
If such a budget adhered to spending caps put in place by the two-year, $1.1 trillion budget deal passed in December — which Ryan helped create — passage could be difficult. Sixty-two House Republicans voted against that measure, meaning a similar spending plan would require Democratic support for passage.
That could be a tough task if Republicans turn their budget into a messaging vehicle that increases military spending at the expense of nondefense programs, rejecting the agreed-upon even split of $63 billion in sequester relief over two years.
Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, said Friday, “The Murray-Ryan deal rolled back sequestration evenly between defense and non-defense and set clear spending caps for each category for two years.”
“It would be unfortunate if the House reneged on that deal less than four months after it was agreed to and created uncertainty in what should be a crisis-free budget process this year,” he said.
Even some Republicans have suggested not doing a budget, because it could be a liability with thorny details that detract from broader, more conceptual and successful Republican attacks over the economy and Obamacare.
But others say an “aspirational” budget filled with conservative policy could draw more support from the conference and help in the election.
The congressional timetable sets the deadline at April 15 — about three weeks away — for completing action on the annual budget resolution for the new fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
What We're Following See More »
In a unanimous decision, "the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it violates insider-trading laws for a corporate officer to make a “gift” of insider information to a relative, a decision that makes it easier for those who police Wall Street to bring prosecutions."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.
As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."