Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution Update – March 11, 2016

FY17 Budget Resolution

House Republicans are pushing plans to cut entitlement programs as they seek to come to an agreement on their FY17 budget resolution. House leaders had scheduled a call for today with the entire Republican House conference to try to determine if they have the votes to adopt a budget resolution. They are promising a vote on legislation cutting $30 billion in mandatory spending programs in return for passing a budget resolution. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) is hoping to mark up a budget next Tuesday or Wednesday with floor consideration the following week.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered three bills this week that would cut spending by $16.5B over two years:

  1. HR 4722, a bill requiring inclusion of the taxpayer’s social security number to claim the refundable portion of the child tax credit.

  1. HR 4723, a bill providing for the recovery of improper overpayments resulting from certain Federally subsidized health insurance (“Obamacare”).

  1. HR 4724, a bill repealing the program of block grants to States for social services.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee also plans on taking action on legislation that would cut spending by $25 billion over 10 years. HR 4725 would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; reduce Medicaid reimbursements to states for prisoners; and scale back the federal match for the Children’s Health Insurance Fund.

HR 4725:

The House authorizing committees are planning on marking up these bills next week if the decision is made to go forward with an FY17 budget resolution. Democrats are likely to oppose these measures, which means that they don’t stand much of a chance of being passed by the Senate even if the House passes them.

On the Senate side, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) said that his committee is delaying consideration of a budget this month. Vulnerable Senators running for re-election this fall would prefer to not have to cast difficult votes cutting popular programs like Medicare. And any attempts to break from last year’s bipartisan agreement could delay the FY17 appropriations process in a year when Republicans have promised to restore regular order and the calendar is shortened due to Presidential nominating conventions. Enzi hasn’t ruled out returning to a budget resolution in coming months, but he has suggested that the Senate could live without one this year given last year’s two-year bipartisan budget agreement.

Meanwhile, in the Appropriations Committees, the Senate is planning to move the annual spending bills even without a budget resolution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed to move forward with the appropriations process at the spending levels agreed to last fall. McConnell has stated that his number one goal this year is to pass regular appropriations bills on time. Senate Appropriators expect to receive their 302(b) allocations around April 15 or a bit later. The allocations allow the subcommittees to begin writing their spending bills.

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