Congressional leaders and President Donald Trump have struck a compromise budget deal (text; summary) that would address pressing deadlines for the federal debt ceiling and budgetary spending caps. The deal provides for a $321 billion boost in federal spending over the next two years, with $738 billion for defense spending and $632 billion for non-defense in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $740.5 billion for defense and $634.5 billion for non-defense in FY 2021. By waiving the spending caps for FY 2020 and 2021, the agreement essentially marks the end of the 2011 Budget Control Act which is set to expire at the end of 2021.
White House and Congressional leaders are still working to finalize details of a sweeping budget deal that would address the debt ceiling and budgetary spending caps. Reports suggest that both sides are zeroing in on a deal that would include spending offsets that total less than the administration’s $150 billion demand, as well as a two-year suspension of the debt ceiling. Negotiators are still waiting for President Donald Trump to sign off on this latest proposal. If the president signs off on the deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will look to muscle the package through the lower chamber prior to the six-week August recess.
The Week in Review
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last week that the White House and Congressional leaders have agreed on terms for a sweeping budget deal that would address spending levels for fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021 and the debt ceiling. According to Mnuchin, Congressional leaders agreed to offset the increased spending limits for FY 2020 and 2021, as well as raise the debt ceiling for two years. As of now, a timeline for a finalized deal is unclear as officials are still negotiating specific numbers, revenue offsets, and “certain structural issues.”
Congress has adjourned for the week as negotiations on a sweeping budget deal continue behind the scenes. Despite reaching a general agreement on the framework for the deal, talks are still ongoing over specific numbers, offsets, and structural issues. Late yesterday, the White House gave House Democrats an extended list of $574 billion in offset options — including drug pricing provisions and proposed cuts found in the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget — that was rebuffed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this morning. Talks are expected to resume today and throughout the weekend as negotiators look for a vote on a deal ahead of August recess.
House lawmakers will reconvene this morning to begin a busy day of legislative business. In addition to legislation authorizing appropriations for U.S. intelligence operations and a resolution holding key administration officials in contempt of Congress, Democratic leadership has queued up a bipartisan bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) so-called "Cadillac” tax. Designed to curb incentives for employers to provide particularly generous health benefits, the 40 percent excise tax has been a target for repeal by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The White House and Congressional leaders are continuing negotiations on a sweeping budget deal that would address budgetary spending caps, the debt ceiling, and fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations. Despite indications of progress from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the dwindling summer floor time — coupled with the slow pace of negotiations — has increased the likelihood that some form of stopgap measure will be needed to address the pressing fiscal deadlines. While the House has cleared all but two of its FY 2020 spending bills, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) conceded yesterday that the upper chamber is not likely to begin marking up appropriations bills this summer, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has remained adamant on waiting for a budget deal first.
Both chambers of Congress will return to action this afternoon. When the House gavels in first, lawmakers will begin consideration of 14 suspension bills out of the Foreign Affairs and Small Business Committees. This includes: (1) a measure amending the Small Business Act to require cyber certification for small business development center counselors; (2) legislation that would mandate an annual report on the cybersecurity of the Small Business Administration (SBA); and (3) a bill requiring the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman create a centralized website for compliance guides. Meanwhile, Senators are expected to resume consideration of pending presidential nominations, starting with the nomination of Peter Phipps to be a Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Court.
The Week in Review
House lawmakers completed work on the lower chamber’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passing the $733 billion measure to end last week’s work session. Prior to final passage, the House tacked on several provisions— including: (1) repealing the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF); (2) preventing the Trump administration from deploying troops to the U.S.-Mexico border; and (3) requiring Congressional authorization for use of military force against Iran — aimed at sweetening the measure to appeal to skeptical progressive lawmakers who had the potential to tank the bill. Negotiations between the House and Senate are expected to begin soon as both chambers will need to reconcile their respective versions.