House budget chairman: Final 2016 deal ‘close’

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) on Thursday said negotiators are “close” to striking a GOP budget conference agreement between both chambers.

“We’re close, we’re close,” Price told reporters as he walked off the House floor. “We’re close, but there are a few outstanding issues.”

Price said he didn’t think budget negotiators are sticking around Washington as Congress departs for the weekend.

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), one of the conferees appointed to negotiate a final budget deal, said Thursday that there hasn’t been a “handshake” yet, but she agreed they are close to one.

{mosads}“We’ll be letting everybody know within the next couple of days, I think, what the final agreement is,” said Black, who declined to provide any further details.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said one thing he doesn’t want to see in a final budget agreement is a provision that phases out changes in mandatory programs, or CHIMPS. Appropriators rely on CHIMPS to offset nondefense discretionary spending increases while remaining under the budget cap. The Senate GOP budget adopted in March contained a provision that would phase them out.

Rogers explained that those limits could make it tough on appropriators.

“It certainly would. It’s almost $20 billion that we would have to find from somewhere else and there ain’t nowhere else to go,” he said. “I’m very concerned about that.”

“I keep hoping that soon that we come to another Ryan-Murray-type deal that will ease the pressure on sequestration, but until that happens, the CHIMPS money is really critical,” he added.

Republicans and Democrats have been floating the idea of another major bipartisan budget deal later this year that would mimic a 2013 compromise by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The budget panel chiefs reached a popular agreement to relieve sequestration caps for fiscal 2014 and 2015.

Unless Congress passes a similar deal this before fiscal 2016 begins in October, the federal government will be limited to $1.017 trillion in discretionary spending next year for the Pentagon and domestic programs. 

Tags Diane Black Patty Murray Paul Ryan

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