Director’s Desk

In normal circumstances, all spending measures begin in the House. But this year, in the absence of passing a budget resolution in the House, as Josh discusses in the accompanying newsletter piece, Senate leadership will move forward on spending bills without any guidance from the lower chamber.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-WY) announced this week that he will formally file the top line discretionary spending numbers agreed to in last year’s Bipartisan Budget Agreement (BBA) by the beginning of next week. Filing the top line spending numbers allows the Senate to begin consideration of the 12 appropriations bills without a budget resolution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated he plans to move forward with sending all 12 appropriations bills to the president before the start of the fiscal year. Does this mean we’ll actually see at least some of the appropriations bills passed into law this year?

The answer, of course, is no.  Lacking 60 votes in the Senate, he’s unlikely to get any of the measures passed on the floor.  In the House, the Republican majority has yet to agree to the discretionary spending numbers agreed to in the BBA, with fiscal hawks and members of the House Freedom Caucus still advocating significantly lower spending. So, as Josh suggests, the best case at this point would seem to be a four or five month continuing resolution. Welcome back to the future.


Ken Gold is director of the Government Affairs Institute

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