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House GOP likely to miss budget deadline

House GOP likely to miss budget deadline
© Haiyun Jiang

House Republicans are expected to blow past a budget deadline this week after party leaders failed to resolve a months-long fight over spending levels.

Several lawmakers and aides said Tuesday the GOP was no closer to consensus on next year’s $1.04 trillion spending levels after a two-week hiatus from Capitol Hill.

The House GOP has until Friday to pass its budget resolution, but lawmakers and aides widely acknowledge that it still comes up short on votes. The budget was left out of this week’s to-do list of legislation and got little attention from most members over the break.

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Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform MORE (R-Wis.) will address the party’s budget problem Wednesday morning, when the conference meets in full for the first time since mid-March, though no formal presentation is scheduled.

When asked if the House would vote on a resolution this week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told The Hill on Tuesday evening: “I don’t think so.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of both the Appropriations and the Budget committees, called himself “unrealistically optimistic.”

“I think this is the pivotal week to find out if we’ve made any progress at all,” Cole said Tuesday, while acknowledging the GOP’s core group of opposition — the House Freedom Caucus — has not softened its stance against the higher spending levels.

Democrats have written off the GOP’s budget for dead. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will join leaders of the House Democratic Caucus for a press briefing on Wednesday to hammer the GOP on missing the budget deadline.

The House’s budget process is largely symbolic this year because Congress already agreed to $1.04 trillion spending levels as part of a deal with the White House last fall.

The 2017 document functions more as a campaign tool than a spending blueprint. It’s also become increasingly common for the party in charge to miss that April 15 budget deadline. When Democrats last completed a joint budget in 2009, they did not approve it until April 29.

Still, Ryan has made it a priority to restore regular order to the budget process with hopes of avoiding the types of short-term deal-making that he has blasted as a “a crap sandwich.”

The House will still be able to draft spending bills using the controversial spending levels already in law, but the Appropriations Committee can’t send bills to the floor until May 15.