Ryan: Budget resolution not set for first week of September

Ryan: Budget resolution not set for first week of September
© Keren Carrion
 
That position runs contrary to an understanding the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest GOP caucus group, believes it reached with Ryan on Tuesday on a spending bill strategy.
 
Over the weekend, the RSC had found significant support among its members for considering all 12 appropriations bills together as an omnibus bill ahead of the August recess, as opposed to considering the current “minibus” with just four of the bills, and putting the others off until September. 
 
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RSC Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to add the eight additional spending bills to the minibus.
 
The Speaker, however, was concerned that a full omnibus was too risky. An errant amendment’s passage could give members cold feet and sink the bill. 
 
On Tuesday, Ryan requested that the amendment be withdrawn. Walker sent a text message to Ryan, saying he would withdraw the amendment if Ryan would agree to bring the budget resolution to the floor in the first week of September. 
 
According to the RSC, Ryan agreed, provided he could gather the necessary votes.
 
Ryan viewed the caveat as superseding the precise date for a vote, while Walker understood it to be secondary.
 
“We believed we had an agreement, so we withdrew the amendment. That agreement was to vote on the budget resolution, not to pass the resolution,” said Scott Parkinson, executive director for the House RSC.
 
“For me, if they don’t have the votes, I want to see the vote,” Parkinson added.
 
While a delay of a few dates to whip votes would not be cause for a row, Parkinson said, he sees little reason that the budget should not move forward.
 
The resolution, which was approved in the House Budget Committee on July 19, faced opposition among two main factions of the wider GOP conference.
 
The first, the conservative House Freedom Caucus, saw the $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts mandated by the resolution as too timid. The second, the centrist Tuesday Group, saw them as unrealistic and a distraction from reaching final spending numbers, which would require buy-in from Democrats in the Senate.
 
But the House Freedom Caucus could back off its opposition now that another of its demands — eliminating the border-adjustment tax from the resolution’s outline for tax reform — has become moot.
 
A tax reform outline released Thursday scrapped the tax from consideration.
 
Still, Parkinson says, if the resolution does not advance to the House floor in early September, there will be little chance for it to advance at all.
 
“If they don’t have the votes the first or second week of September, they’re not going to vote on the budget resolution heading into the CR discussion,” Parkinson said, referring to a continuing resolution that would postpone a spending deal for 2018.
 
That would leave both mandatory cuts and the outlines for tax reform up in the air.