Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that he expects the House to vote on a full budget resolution, as it has every year since the GOP took over in 2011, a development welcomed by Democrats as "politically toxic" to GOP midterm election prospects.
"I certainly expect so," Boehner said at his weekly press conference.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he intends to write a budget again this year, even though the December budget law established a discretionary spending level of $1.014 trillion for 2015.
Ryan has said he wants to lay out new ideas for combating inequality by fostering economic growth and reforming job training in the budget.
"CBO says our budget outlook is unsustainable. We've made some progress on the discretionary side, but on the main drivers of our debt-entitlements-we've got a lot more work to do," Ryan said through his spokesman Thursday. "House Republicans will keep offering real solutions to get spending under control, fix our broken tax code, create jobs, and put us on the path to balance."
Big questions remain however such as whether he will incorporate Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) controversial tax overhaul or whether he will try to cut spending deeper in 2015 than in the December deal, which Ryan struck with Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
The timing for the budget is not yet clear, but some aides speculate there could be an early April release with a vote before the Easter recess.
Appropriators could start marking up with bills before that however, sources said, since the committee wants to complete all 12 annual bills by Sept. 30 for the first time since 1994.
Democrats reacted to Boehner’s comment with some excitement on Thursday since they see Ryan’s past budgets as a political liability for Republicans.
Ryan has proposed partially privatizing Medicare in the past by allowing seniors to opt to receive a premium subsidy to buy private insurance. Democrats say the shift will spike out of pocket costs for seniors.
“Republican Speaker John Boehner just broke the news that Republicans in the House do expect to put forth a new version of the Ryan Budget that has, in recent years, attempted to end the Medicare guarantee while cutting taxes for special interests and the ultra wealthy. Recent speculation was that Republicans would not offer this budget in the election year because it’s become politically toxic,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a press release.
Not doing a budget resolution carries some risks for the GOP, however. The party spent years blasting Senate Democrats for not doing one until a 2013 debt-ceiling vote forced the Senate to do its first in four years.
It appears unlikely that Senate Democrats will do a budget resolution this year, although Murray has not formally said she will not try to do so.
In a memo to her colleagues on Thursday, Murray argued that budget wars since 2010 have lowered the long-term budget deficit by $3.3 trillion.
She argued that Congress can pivot away from budget fights since "we have some breathing room to focus more on creating jobs, expanding opportunity and generating broad-based economic growth now and into the future—while we keep looking for ways to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges using a balanced and responsible approach."
On the other hand, the last House budget balanced in the budget window, but did so by slashing domestic spending in a way that many Republicans could not support when it came time to flesh out the vision through a transportation spending bill on the floor last summer.