Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Senate Democrats: Boost domestic spending, not just defense

Senate Democrats: Boost domestic spending, not just defense

The House Freedom Caucus is threatening to withhold its support from the budget resolution unless deeper cuts are made to mandatory spending, largely in welfare programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

The current deadlock is the result of a battle between conservatives demanding greater spending cuts and the committee chairmen who would carry them out. "I do see a viable path and I'm going to continue to push until we have that 218 mark, and I'm going to push until we get it out of our committee", Black told reporters June 27 after a weekly House GOP conference meeting.

The House Budget Committee canceled plans to send a budget resolution for fiscal 2018 to the floor this week, lawmakers said on Tuesday, as conservative Republicans pushed to add hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the spending blueprint that would take effect October 1. "That number was thrown out as an offer, it was never agreed to, and so it's still a work in progress what we can do on the mandatory spending reductions".

"150 billion is an aggressive number to begin with", said Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania Republican and a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group caucus.

"Before we move forward on a budget, we need to know the answers to some pretty important questions, like is the border adjustment tax really dead and are we going to have real savings over time to offset big increases in discretionary spending?" said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus.

Mr. Dent also said trying to deal with entitlement program changes in the 2018 budget could make tax reform more hard.

While the Budget Committee members have no objection to a higher amount of mandatory savings cuts, their problem is getting the authorizing committee chairman to pony up the needed savings to meet the reconciliation target.

"50 billion is a lot of money", he said.

The House appropriations defense subcommittee and House armed services committee are both marking up defense bills this week that adheres to the budget framework's $621.5 billion base defense topline and $75 billion war budget, for a total increase of $28.5 billion more than the Trump administration request. Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) said, "We're still working with Diane to get to a 'yes.' I'm not the only issue they've got". "The appropriations process is moving right along, so it certainly hasn't slowed us down". "Going to a new budget reconciliation without understanding in principle where we are going on a border adjustment tax would be very hard to do", he said.

With negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders stalled, GOP lawmakers are eyeing a continuing resolution to keep state government operating if no budget deal is reached this week. "One's going up, the other's coming down - I hope everybody is ready to vote for the omnibus in December when that comes rolling around".

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