Congressional Republicans will huddle later this week to open consideration of next year’s federal budget, upping the pressure on Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price to find increasingly narrow consensus between the Republican conference’s warring fiscal and deficit hawks.
Rep. Price, a Marietta Republican, has sketched out a spending blueprint in line with discretionary spending levels agreed to last year in concert with President Barack Obama, but would include several deficit reduction mechanisms the broader conference and Congress could adopt, a committee aide told reporters Monday.
Fiscal year 2016’s budget touched off a heated debate among Republicans: some wanted dramatic, immediate cuts to spending across the board while defense hawks insisted that expanded resources must be directed to the Pentagon.
Price is optimistic that his new proposal could avert a similar showdown, according to Politico:
“This proposal enjoys the overwhelming support of the committee members, and the chairman looks forward to sharing it with the broader Conference as we continue moving this process forward,” said William Allison, a Budget Committee spokesman.
Price, a Georgia Republican, has been talking with lawmakers on and off the Budget Committee and now feels comfortable presenting the proposal to the full GOP conference later this week. The introduction of the budget won’t come until afterward, and the Budget Committee aide stressed that the resolution won’t express a preference for the best approach to find entitlement savings that could touch on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The Budget Committee aide also argued that their budget process is still well ahead of schedule and that appropriations bills are not expected on the floor until April.