Deal or No Deal ? Congress departed for the Easter recess period with a budget resolution nearly finally agreed – they planned to return from recess and quickly complete the “reconciliation” conference that would be passed with a simple majority in the Senate as opposed to the 60 vote threshold.
Appropriations panels in each chamber released their 403(b) allocations to subcommittees (the amounts to which they are authorized to “mark” their bills). So sure were House defense authorizers of their top line authority that their “markup” unfolded last week and this week on one of the fastest timelines in recent memory. House conservatives (The Freedom Caucus of about 40 Members) understood that an appeal of The Affordable Care Act was included in the budget deal. Speaker Boehner has now signaled it is not. Last night (April 27th), Senator Corker withheld his support of the budget deal without publicly articulating exactly why. His one vote in the Senate can sink the deal. So, nearly a full month after a budget deal was pronounced, the Budget Conference Committee has yet to forward a bill to be finally voted in the House and Senate.
Republican leadership in both chambers have heralded their first 100 days of the 114th Congress as quite productive, citing numerous meaningful votes. There have been more votes in the Senate in the first 100 days than we saw in the entire previous 113th Congress. The Budget Resolution has proven more difficult than originally advertised last month.
Prognosis – A non-binding budget resolution is imminent; however, the struggle to move it quickly once the outline was agreed signals ongoing unrest and the potential for future challenges in actually passing large and difficult appropriations bills (like defense).
The House Authorization markup is nearly complete; full HASC meets tomorrow April 29th. The “Chairman’s Mark” has been released and may be found here!! Look for a subsequent Quick Hit after the full committee meets.
Upcoming dates of interest:
15 April – 2016 Budget Resolution is overdue (non-binding deadline)
ongoing through May – Defense committee/subcommittee markups
31 May – Highway Trust Fund; current extension expires
1 June – USA Patriot Act; multiple provisions expire
30 June – Export-Import Bank authorization expires
30 September – FAA reauthorization expires
30 September – Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expires
30 September – Internet Tax Moratorium expires
1 October – Beginning of Fiscal Year 2016