13 Sep

Congress Close to Clearing FY16 Budget Resolution

first_imgThe House adopted the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution last Thursday, a compromise that strips out a procedural hurdle that could have blocked the Senate from allocating tens of billions of extra dollars included in DOD’s war account.To evade the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, the budget blueprints advanced in both the House and Senate allot $96 billion — including $58 billion requested by the Obama administration and $38 billion in extra funds — to the department’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). That account is not subject to the budget caps.The Senate version, however, included a point of order on spending from the OCO exceeding $58 billion, a mechanism that likely would have required defense hawks to produce 60 votes to override any objections raised by Senate Democrats or fiscal conservatives. The maneuver essentially would have counteracted the chamber’s attempt to sidestep the budget caps by stashing extra funds for DOD in the OCO.House and Senate conferees removed the Senate point of order due to pressure from defense hawks, reported CQ Roll Call. The Senate is expected to take up the conference report, which will not go to the president for his signature, as early as today.While the compromise budget resolution removes any obstacles to appropriators allocating the extra defense funds, it will not become law and, as a result, does not settle the dispute between congressional Republicans and the White House over how to deal with the statutory spending caps. President Obama has vowed to veto any FY 2016 spending bills that adhere to the Budget Control Act caps or provide budgetary relief only to the Pentagon. Absent a bipartisan agreement to lift the caps for both defense and non-defense agencies, it is not clear how the government will be funded next year. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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