Legislative Activity

President to Release Budget Tuesday, to Republican Opposition

On Tuesday, February 9, the White House will release President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) budget request, his final one. The President’s budget will be dead on arrival in Congress but can be an important messaging document, particularly heading into a presidential election year.

The budget request is expected to include several new initiatives, including a plan for a “21st Century Clean Transportation System” funded by a $10-per-barrel fee on oil. The Obama Administration will also propose doubling clean energy research and development spending to $12.8 billion by 2021, and creating a $1.65 billion fund over the next ten years for climate infrastructure projects. The Administration will also propose spending $5.5 billion in FY 2017 for job-training efforts for young people, and a $2.5 billion tax credit over five years for companies that partner with community colleges and hire graduates. The budget request will also include a focus on criminal justice reforms and propose a new $1.1 billion effort to address the opioid epidemic.

Republican leadership of the House and Senate Budget Committees have said they will not hold hearings to discuss the President’s FY 2017 budget request with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget Director, Shaun Donovan, as has been customary in the past. Senate Budget Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY) and House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said in a joint statement that it appears “the President’s final budget will continue to focus on new spending proposals instead of confronting our government’s massive overspending and debt,” noting the Committees will focus on reforming the budget process rather than hearing from the Administration.

However, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said efforts to reduce spending below the limits agreed to in last year’s two-year budget deal would weaken Republicans’ ability to insert conservative policy into FY 2017 appropriations bills. While House Republican leadership has asked Chairman Price to use the budget deal spending limits for the House’s FY 2017 budget resolution, members of the House Freedom Caucus have said they do not support those spending levels. The budget deal only received the support of 79 House Republicans last year, and while House Democrats provided the majority of the votes for the deal, it is unlikely that any will vote for the Republican budget resolution.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, February 10: The Senate Appropriations Committee, Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 proposed budget request for the Air Force.
  • Wednesday, February 10: The House Appropriations Committee, Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
  • Wednesday, February 10: The House Appropriations Committee, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • Thursday, February 11: The House Appropriations Committee, Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Thursday, February 11: The House Appropriations Committee, State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing on United States Engagement in Central America.
  • Thursday, February 11: The House Appropriations Committee, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Department of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary.
  • Thursday, February 11: The House Appropriations Committee, Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Friday, February 12: The House Appropriations Committee, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General.