Senate GOP postpones its budget

Senate GOP postpones its budget

Senate Budget Committee Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziAbolishing Budget Committee hits a symptom, not the disease Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes The Hill's Morning Report: Hannity drawn into Cohen legal fight MORE (R-Wyo.) is postponing action on the budget amidst disagreements in the House over spending cuts.

Enzi announced Monday that his committee will postpone possible action this month but will continue to discuss their options.

He argued that the Senate can pass appropriations bills even without a budget resolution because the top-line spending numbers were set in last year’s budget deal. Vulnerable GOP incumbents who are not eager to take politically charged votes this spring have made the same argument.

“The Senate Budget Committee will continue to discuss the budget as well as improvements to the budget process that would increase fiscal honesty, stability in government operations and the ability to govern our nation,” Enzi said in a statement.

“The Senate already has top-line numbers and budget enforcement features available this year so that a regular order appropriations process can move forward while we continue to discuss broader budget challenges,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo MORE (R-Ky.) pledged earlier this year that Republicans would make “a major effort” to pass a budget, repeatedly noting it’s required by law.

Republicans regularly bashed Democrats when they controlled the chamber for skipping budgets.

McConnell pledged in 2014 that Republicans would pass a budget every year if they won control of the Senate.

“I don’t think the law says ‘pass a budget unless it’s hard.’ So I think there’s no question that we would — we would take up our responsibility,” he told reporters, adding, “every year.”

Democrats on Monday accused Republicans of hypocrisy.

“In addition to this being the height of hypocrisy from the same Republicans that screamed bloody murder on this issue for years, its proof positive that Republicans are terrified to make their governing argument in an election year,” said a senior Democratic aide.  

“The Republican agenda of slashing entitlements and key middle class programs in order to heap more tax cuts on the wealthy and special interests is a loser at the polls, so it’s no surprise they want to keep their priorities hidden from view,” the aide added.

In recent weeks, Republican senators have said privately they would probably not act if House Republicans failed to achieve consensus on a fiscal blueprint.

In House, Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) has clashed with conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, who have demanded spending levels below what leaders in both chambers agreed to in October’s budget deal.

The Bipartisan Budget Act passed last fall sets top-line spending numbers, which will allow the Senate Appropriations Committee to move spending bills without a budgetary vote on the floor.

Enzi noted that if the House passes a budget resolution, it can be brought directly to the Senate floor after April 1, in accordance with the 1974 Budget Act.