No Budget Agreement Reached in House
House Republican leaders on Thursday removed the $2.7 trillion fiscal year 2007 budget resolution from consideration this week after they failed to reach an agreement with moderates on health care and education spending, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 5/11).
The House budget resolution includes $6.8 billion in spending reductions for entitlement programs but excludes reductions for Medicare and Medicaid. The House budget resolution includes an $873 billion discretionary spending cap requested by President Bush.
Under the discretionary spending cap, spending for health and other nonsecurity programs would remain at about FY 2006 levels (California Healthline, 4/7).
According to Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.), who has led moderates in the budget resolution debate, the main issue is a $141.9 billion discretionary spending cap for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill established this week by the House Appropriations Committee. Castle said that moderates have concerns about spending levels for medical research and other programs (Higa/Poole, CQ Today, 5/11).
The discretionary spending cap for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill exceeds the amount Bush requested by $4.1 billion, but moderates have sought an additional $3.1 billion to account for inflation. In the event that Republican leaders cannot reach an agreement with moderates by early next week, they might add a provision to the budget resolution "deeming" the $873 billion discretionary spending cap part of the rule for floor debate on the first appropriations bill scheduled for consideration, the Agriculture appropriations bill.
The move would "put moderates in a bind, since voting against the rule is considered apostasy with the Republican Conference," CongressDaily reports.
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday, "We made a lot of progress today, but we're not there," adding that a vote on the budget resolution could occur next Friday (CongressDaily, 5/11).