House Dems inch closer to budget proposal

House Democrats say they are getting closer to an internal deal on a budget resolution that would increase nondefense spending faster than defense spending, a reversal from recent years.

“I’d say the odds are that there will be [a resolution],” House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDivided Dems look to regroup On The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — GOP senators urge Trump not to nominate Cain | Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Party divisions force Dems to scrap budget vote | House passes IRS reform bill Left-center divide forces Dems to scrap budget vote MORE (D-Ky.) told The Hill.

In order to stick to legislative timelines, the budget would have to be released Monday and marked up that week.

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Yarmuth’s assessment is an improvement from just a few weeks ago, when he said the odds were 50-50 that House Democrats would be able to strike a deal that would satisfy the various groups within the caucus. 

Progressives were pushing to boost nondefense spending and restrain or even freeze defense spending, raising concerns for defense and budget hawks. There were also concerns about how to pay for some of the environmental, educational and health priorities Democrats want to showcase in the resolution, a nonbinding document that will ultimately serve to set the stage for bipartisan talks on raising spending caps.

“There are Blue Dogs and New Dems that don’t want to vote for any tax increase,” Yarmuth said, but added that some members could overcome their misgivings to help Democrats avoid the embarrassment of not producing a budget. “It’s one thing to not like the level, and another thing to say you’re not going to vote for it,” he said.

The resolution would increase defense spending, but not to the $750 billion level President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE requested in his budget. It would aim to stabilize the debt as a percentage of GDP over the course of a decade.

Whether or not Democrats choose to pass a budget, they are unlikely to find common ground with the GOP-controlled Senate, which was marking up its own budget resolution on Thursday. That resolution called for keeping steep spending caps in place, cutting both defense and nondefense spending dramatically.

Ultimately, leadership from both parties are working to reach a two-year deal to raise those caps, which will determine the real spending levels for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021.