Legislative Activity

House Republicans Work Towards an Agreement on Spending

Republicans may be nearing a deal that will make passage of a budget much easier in the House. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently told House Republicans the best way to advance conservative policy priorities during the upcoming appropriations process is to approve a budget, and appropriations bills, that adhere to the spending limits set in last year’s budget agreement, a deal which was negotiated just before he became Speaker. That agreement would increase discretionary spending by $30 billion, and conservative House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus had voiced opposition to a budget and appropriations bills that followed the higher spending limits.

However, House Republicans may have found a solution. Freedom Caucus members have suggesting offsetting the $30 billion discretionary spending increase with an equivalent level of savings from entitlement changes. While appropriations bills may be able to pass the House with mandatory spending reductions or entitlement reform, it is unlikely the bills would have any traction in the Senate, where Republicans do not have enough votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

Both Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) want to pass all twelve appropriations bills this year, though disagreements over funding levels, policy riders, and an opening on the Supreme Court may derail the appropriations process this year. Republicans have been eager to return to “regular order” to show that they can govern effectively, though last year they failed to send individual appropriations bills to the President and had to negotiate an omnibus spending bill with Democrats.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees to Hold Budget Hearings

While the Budget Committees did not hold their typical hearings to hear from the Administration on the President’s FY 2017 budget request, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold numerous hearings this week to consider the budgets for several federal departments and agencies. The President’s budget request is widely viewed as dead on arrival in Congress; however there may be a few proposals that gain bipartisan support. These include the President’s proposed $19 billion “Cyber Action Plan,” some anti-poverty initiatives such as expanding the earned income tax credit, and funding to address the Zika virus and opioid epidemic.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee will hold a closed hearing on “United States European Command Oversight.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Veteran Affairs Office of Inspector General Oversight.”
  • Friday, February 26: The House Appropriations Committee Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Quality of Life in the Military Oversight.”

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2017 Budget Hearings

  • Wednesday, February 24: The Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the United States Army.
  • Wednesday, February 24: The Senate Appropriations Committee State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the State Department.
  • Wednesday, February 24: The Senate Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • Wednesday, February 24: The Senate Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Homeland Security Department.
  • Thursday, February 25: The Senate Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Justice Department.

House Appropriations Committee FY 2017 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, February 23: The House Appropriations Committee Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Office of Management and Budget’s Budget.”
  • Tuesday, February 23: The House Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Commerce Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The United States Forest Service Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Homeland Security Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of State and Foreign Assistance Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The USDA Food and Nutrition Service Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Justice Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The United States Forest Service Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Budget.”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The House Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Transportation Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Indian Health Service Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Defense Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Department of Health and Human Services Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Food and Drug Administration Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Federal Bureau of Investigation Budget.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Committee Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Consumer Product Safety Commission Budget.”
  • Friday, February 26: The House Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The Army Corps of Engineers Budget.”
  • Friday, February 26: The House Appropriations Committee Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “The USDA Natural Resources and Environment Budget.”