Today on the Hill: Budget Week in the House; Senate to Pass Unemployment Bill

May 22, 2014

This week, the House will take up Republican’s fiscal 2015 budget resolution (H.Con.Res. 96), which would cut $5.1 trillion in planned spending over the next ten years. The proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is designed to balance the federal budget in 10 years. Approved by the Budget Committee last Wednesday, the plan would revamp safety-net programs, offer a “premium support” alternative to Medicare, and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House GOP budget resolution stands no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, which doesn’t plan to advance a budget plan.

Several other budget alternatives will be considered. In recent years, GOP leaders have allowed votes on budget plans from the Democratic minority, the Republican Study Committee, the Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus.
The House will begin their budget week today by considering one of two budget reform bills that Republicans say will help Congress in its effort to balance the budget. The Baseline Reform Act (H.R. 1871) would prohibit automatic inflation increases in budgets from one year to the next. Later this week, the House will consider the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act (H.R. 1872) which aims to make budget accounting more accurate, in part by revising the budgetary treatment of federal direct loans and loan guarantees to account for them on a fair value basis.

The House will also consider up to three suspension bills today:

  • H.R. 3470, the Naval Vessel and Arms Export Control Amendments Act, authorizing the transfer of surplus ships to Mexico and Thailand.
  • S. 404, the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act, preserving an area of Washington state affected by last month's mudslide. The Senate passed this bill this week.
  • H.R. 4323, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act, reauthorizing grants to states to conduct DNA analyses of samples collected from crime victims.
  • In the Senate, members will hold a vote today for final passage of the bipartisan bill to extend federal emergency unemployment benefits (S. 2149). That vote is expected at 5:30 pm this evening. While Senate passage could put pressure on the House to take action, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he wouldn’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures.

Later this week, the Senate is expected to start work on a bill (S. 1737) from Sen. Tom Harkiin (D-IA) to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The House and Senate are expected to adjourn Thursday evening for a two-week spring recess.