And the Speakership Goes to...
Paul Ryan (most likely). The House will vote this week, October 29, to officially elect Ryan (R-Wisconsin) as John Boehner’s successor as Speaker of the House. Boxes are already packed and stacked at outside the Speaker’s office. Ryan has received a supermajority endorsement (at least 65% vote) from the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus and support from other GOP groups. On Sunday, Ryan announced his decision to make Republican policy leader and old friend David Hoppe his chief of staff. The election seems to be in the bag for Ryan. The next question is if Speaker Boehner will resolve the debt ceiling issue before he leaves office at the end of the week, or if this will be the first item on Ryan’s “to do” list as Speaker.
Impact on an FY16 Budget ?
Paul Ryan has proven he can reach across the aisle and to the Senate in crafting creative, yet viable, solutions. He and Senator Murray previously drafted what many viewed as a workable, if temporary, budget solution that would mitigate the impacts of sequester. While it wasn’t passed then, the circumstances to encourage a deal are shifting favorably. With a (slightly) more peaceful tone emerging in the House, look for some form of a “Ryan-Murray” 2.0 budget compromise. Central to a compromise will be an easing of the non-defense budget caps. We are weeks away from details; however, with the Speakership now coming into focus, the cast of negotiators can get to work.
The NDAA Veto
Last week, President Obama vetoed one of the only remaining “must-pass” pieces of legislation left on the Congressional docket, The National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA). Many Democrats oppose the bill for its $38 billion additional OCO funding, which is being viewed as a “gimmick” to skirt budget caps passed in 2011. The veto from the White House, the fifth of Obama’s two term presidency, is a message to House Republicans to come up with a federal budget plan for FY16 that will allow funding increases across all sectors, not just defense. An override in the Senate seems secure, but the House is less certain. A House override vote on the issue has been scheduled for November 5th. The legislation is in limbo until the vote, but has the potential to impact policy on the potential closure of Guantanamo Bay and current Senate negotiations on the CISA bill regarding private sector cyber security protection.
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization
This week, the House is expected to vote on a four-year extension for reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. Conservative party leadership has successfully prevented reauthorization legislation since July, but high bipartisan support has forced the issue to a vote. Republican and Democrat legislators who led the effort on Friday’s discharge petition are confident the legislation will reach President Obama’s desk, despite opposition from majority party leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.