What’s the number?
A fundamental disconnect among categories of numbers is the crux of the current appropriations logjam for FY18 funding. Until these numbers are reconciled, a Continuing Resolution (CR) will fund FY18 – the current CR runs through December 8th.
- The President requested $640B for defense, $91B above the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending cap of $549B.
- The House Budget Committee has approved $622B for defense, and $87B for OCO. Passage of a Budget resolution in House took months to accomplish.
- The Senate Budget Committee has not approved a budget. The absence of Sen. Thad Cochran (due to health concerns) in today’s markup suggests passage in the Senate could be attempted later in the week. Every vote counts and Republicans have none to spare.
- In the absence of an agreed budget plan, House and Senate Authorizers marked their defense bill at $631B and $640B respectively, along with $60B in OCO spending, above the aforementioned BCA spending cap.
- House Defense Appropriators marked their bill at $584B for defense, along with $74B in OCO, also above the aforementioned BCA spending cap.
- Senate Defense Appropriators have not yet publicly marked their bill, citing the lack of an agreed budget.
- Republicans in particular had hoped that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have produced savings that would have paved the way for dramatic tax reform. We saw multiple efforts of ACA repeal fail through the summer.
- House and Senate Republicans view tax reform as a major legislative objective, as does President Trump.
What It Means…
The contours of ACA and tax savings must be generally agreed in the Senate before a budget agreement can be struck. Without a budget agreement, finalizing appropriations for FY18 remains in jeopardy.
On the current Congressional calendar, there are 27 legislative days remaining before the “traditional” December recess.