Appropriations chair throws cold water on GOP budget deal

Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is throwing a monkey wrench into GOP plans to come up with a budget that significantly cuts the deficit.

The plan is part of the deal worked out last December with the White House.

The Hill:

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he opposes a key part of the legislative strategy put forward by his budget committee counterpart, Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), to advance a fiscal blueprint next year.

Price announced Monday his budget plan would meet the terms set by last fall’s deal with the White House, while promising votes sometime this year on separate legislation to reduce the federal deficit.

While he said the House would have “multiple options” to vote on those mandatory savings, it would likely need to take the form of appropriations bills – something that Rogers said would be nearly impossible for his committee to do.

“While the Chairman is a long-time, strong supporter of mandatory and entitlement reforms to reduce the deficit, the Appropriations process is not the best way to enact them,” committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing wrote in an email Tuesday.

It’s a new wrinkle in the House GOP's struggle to craft a budget plan that will win the necessary support from the Freedom Caucus, which has several members on the Budget committee and is becoming increasingly vocal.

It’s also the first budgeting season under Speaker Paul Ryan, a former budget committee chairman who has made it a personal priority to “restore regular order.”

With new opposition from the House Appropriations Committee, the GOP's chances of approving a joint budget blueprint are again shrinking.

Rogers warned that Price’s approach would cause a massive disruption of “regular order” by requiring the House to “circumnavigate its own budget process rules.” 

He argues that Congress’s 12 yearly appropriations bills – which deal with discretionary spending – are not meant to include cuts to mandatory spending.  Instead, he pointed to Congress’s authorization committees – typically the standing committees in both the House and Senate – which are responsible for crafting major changes to federal programs under their jurisdiction.

The better approach to tackling mandatory spending cuts, Rogers argues, is through a budget tactic known as reconciliation.

Speaker Ryan's desire to return to a normal budget process instead of constantly passing continuing resolutions that automatically increase spending is good, but how to get there is more than just tactics.  It is likely that many conservatives will oppose the budget plan because it doesn't go far enough in their opinion in getting a handle on government spending.  This means that Ryan has very little room for manuever if he goes the reconciliation route.  And the whole plan might collapse in wrangling among the factions in the GOP caucus.

The negotiations will drag on into the summer, coloring House and Senate races.  Several at-risk GOP senators will be looking nervously at the progress of  the talks, as conservatives are likely to be unhappy with the result.

Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is throwing a monkey wrench into GOP plans to come up with a budget that significantly cuts the deficit.

The plan is part of the deal worked out last December with the White House.

The Hill:

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he opposes a key part of the legislative strategy put forward by his budget committee counterpart, Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), to advance a fiscal blueprint next year.

Price announced Monday his budget plan would meet the terms set by last fall’s deal with the White House, while promising votes sometime this year on separate legislation to reduce the federal deficit.

While he said the House would have “multiple options” to vote on those mandatory savings, it would likely need to take the form of appropriations bills – something that Rogers said would be nearly impossible for his committee to do.

“While the Chairman is a long-time, strong supporter of mandatory and entitlement reforms to reduce the deficit, the Appropriations process is not the best way to enact them,” committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing wrote in an email Tuesday.

It’s a new wrinkle in the House GOP's struggle to craft a budget plan that will win the necessary support from the Freedom Caucus, which has several members on the Budget committee and is becoming increasingly vocal.

It’s also the first budgeting season under Speaker Paul Ryan, a former budget committee chairman who has made it a personal priority to “restore regular order.”

With new opposition from the House Appropriations Committee, the GOP's chances of approving a joint budget blueprint are again shrinking.

Rogers warned that Price’s approach would cause a massive disruption of “regular order” by requiring the House to “circumnavigate its own budget process rules.” 

He argues that Congress’s 12 yearly appropriations bills – which deal with discretionary spending – are not meant to include cuts to mandatory spending.  Instead, he pointed to Congress’s authorization committees – typically the standing committees in both the House and Senate – which are responsible for crafting major changes to federal programs under their jurisdiction.

The better approach to tackling mandatory spending cuts, Rogers argues, is through a budget tactic known as reconciliation.

Speaker Ryan's desire to return to a normal budget process instead of constantly passing continuing resolutions that automatically increase spending is good, but how to get there is more than just tactics.  It is likely that many conservatives will oppose the budget plan because it doesn't go far enough in their opinion in getting a handle on government spending.  This means that Ryan has very little room for manuever if he goes the reconciliation route.  And the whole plan might collapse in wrangling among the factions in the GOP caucus.

The negotiations will drag on into the summer, coloring House and Senate races.  Several at-risk GOP senators will be looking nervously at the progress of  the talks, as conservatives are likely to be unhappy with the result.