Budget bargain faces first test today with House Republicans

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Are conservative Republicans strategically clueless or strategically brilliant?.

The two-year budget deal negotiated by the White House and congressional leaders was put to its first test Tuesday morning when House Republicans huddled to decide if they will increase spending and boost the federal borrowing limit in exchange for modest spending reforms. Congressional leaders are throwing their collective weight behind a hard-won, two-year bipartisan budget plan aimed at heading off a looming government debt crisis and forestalling a government shutdown in December. The pact, which would take these volatile issues off the table until after the 2016 presidential election, emerged in behind-the-scenes negotiations late on Monday on Capitol Hill.

The 144-page bill, which was released Monday shortly before midnight, was welcomed by Democrats who have been pushing for budget negotiations all year. “We have a budget agreement,” said outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) after the meeting of House Republicans where the deal was presented. “Democrats and Republicans have come to a responsible agreement that places the needs of our nation above Republicans’ partisan agenda,” Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Boehner, Ohio Republican, meets “key tests.” “It provides substantial relief from harmful spending cuts, and it does so equally on the defense and non-defense sides of the budget,” the official said. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement on Tuesday. “While this agreement is not perfect, it addresses both investment in domestic priorities that benefit the middle class and defense spending. And with this agreement, we avoid a major threat to jobs and the economy.” Boehner conceded the deal is being pushed through because he didn’t want the new speaker “to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what.” He agreed that the package should have been put together in a more inclusive way, saying: “This is not the way to run a railroad.” The pact was negotiated privately by Boehner, Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said of Boehner Tuesday morning. “I mean I don’t think there’s anything you can do at this point.” The budget vote slated for Wednesday would come on the same day as the GOP caucus nominates its candidate, widely expected to be Wisconsin Rep.

And that sort of idea was previously floated as a potential pay-for for highways as well — no surprise given how bipartisan pay-fors are hard to come by. The idea of removing two years of debt ceiling and government shutdown brinkmanship sounds pretty sweet to me, to the mainstream of both parties, and I suspect to most of the country. The speaker-to-be held off on assessing the deal, saying he had to review it, but he expressed frustration with the rush job. “I think this process stinks.

It’s not a stretch to think that many would see that offset as nothing more than a straight-up tax increase on businesses, underscoring the delicate task congressional leaders faced in the negotiations. ALSO DRIVING TUESDAY: John Koskinen returns Tuesday to a place he’s become all too familiar with in his almost two years as IRS chief — the witness table at a congressional hearing. Of course, this kind of deal seems almost expressly designed to inflame the passions of ultra-conservative Republicans in general and the House Freedom Caucus in particular.

The secretive process, paired with widespread support for the deal from Democrats, is souring conservatives as leaders attempt to rally enough Republicans for passage. Koskinen will be back to discuss the Senate Finance Committee’s report on the IRS singling out tea party groups for extra scrutiny when seeking tax-exempt status — an investigation which, much to Koskinen’s chagrin, largely broke down on party lines, making it that much harder for the IRS to put the targeting issue in the rearview mirror. Capitol Hill Democrats are likely to solidly support the agreement, although it gives greater budget relief to the Pentagon than it does domestic programs.

Pelosi embraced the agreement Tuesday morning, signaling that the 188 House Democrats could provide a large portion of the vote needed to get a majority vote in the House. “The bipartisan budget package unveiled last night represents real progress for hard-working families across the country,” Pelosi said. “I look forward to working toward House passage of this proposal this week. — WHAT TO EXPECT: There’s no doubt that some Republicans are going to be fired up about the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner.

Most importantly, we have affirmed that the full faith and credit of the United States is non-negotiable and inviolable.” The legislation would suspend the current $18.1 trillion debt limit through March 2017. The budget portion would increase the current “caps” on total agency spending by $50bn in 2016 and $30bn in 2017, offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. And Reuters’s David Lawder reports that House conservatives know that they’re beat: Representatives Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Mick Mulvaney, founders of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, told Reuters in an interview that there was not enough time for House Republicans to rally around a list of demands for raising the $18.1 trillion U.S. borrowing limit. . . . Hoyer (D-Md.) can deliver votes from most, if not all, of their members, Boehner will only have to win the support of about 40 to 50 Republicans in order to pass the deal.

GOP recommendations in the report include removing the IRS from the Treasury Department, rolling back union activity at the agency and giving tax-exempt applicants more power to get an answer out of the IRS. It would also clean up expected problems in social security and Medicare by fixing a shortfall looming next year in social security payments to the disabled, as well as a large increase in Medicare premiums and deductibles for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care. “Cleaning out the barn,” Boehner said, as he entered the evening meeting of Republicans to pitch the deal. According to Tax Notes, Koskinen said Friday that the agency will be employing new tactics as it makes its budget case — including making more specific project requests and urging Congress to hold the agency accountable on those projects.

Conservatives will be closely watching whether Ryan supports the deal and will likely raise the issue with him at the Tuesday morning meeting. “I hope Paul Ryan will let us know how he feels about the process,” Rep. The emerging budget side of the deal resembles a pact that Ryan fashioned two years ago in concert with the Democratic senator Patty Murray to ease automatic spending cuts for the 2014-15 budget years. Many conservatives disliked the measure and a number on the GOP’s right flank are already swinging against the new one, which would apply to the 2016-17 budget years. “I’m not excited about it at all,” Representative Matt Salmon said of the agreement. Boehner was pushed aside by conservatives in his own party after repeatedly turning to Democrats to pass must-do legislation in an era of divided government.

The deal allows Obama to say he secured a bargain on a scale that has not been seen since the 2013 agreement between Ryan and the Senate Budget Committee’s then-chairman, Sen. Devin Nunes of California, who has called the House GOP’s rightmost flank “right-wing Marxists” and “lemmings with suicide vests,” could also run to replace the House’s soon-to-be unity speaker, Paul Ryan. LET ITFA STAY SINGLE: A group of tech-focused trade associations is urging Congress not to marry an extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act with a measure giving states more latitude to charge sales taxes on online purchases.

Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican and one of Boehner’s closest friends. “So it shouldn’t shock us that’s who he is.” It’s not an easy question to answer. The 18 technology councils and associations, in a letter to congressional leaders, say they’re not just concerned about ITFA becoming a casualty of the online sales tax war. “ITFA bans discrimination while these other proposals authorize discrimination,” the groups wrote. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of leadership, pointed out that the proposal is the kind of spending agreement he and other Democrats have been asking Republican leaders to negotiate all year. “For months, we Democrats have asked for a budget that increases spending significantly above sequester levels and does so in a way that is equally balanced between defense and key middle class programs,” Schumer said. “This agreement does both.” The agreement includes about $80 billion in spending increases over two years, divided equally between defense and domestic programs, with $50 billion in new spending in the first year and $30 billion in the second. Those increases would be paid for with savings from changes to the Social Security disability insurance fund and Medicare payments to doctors and other health-care providers.

Bush, asked for her Supreme Court nomination to be withdrawn on this day a decade ago. ** A message from the Beer Institute: The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903, S.1562) creates a fair, equitable and comprehensive tax structure for brewers and beer importers. New revenue would be raised by auctioning off portions of the government owned broadcast spectrum, selling oil from the strategic oil reserve and by cracking down on audits of large business partnerships.

The Federalist’s Ben Domenech argues that the tea party movement has been wildly successful with its strategy of stamping its foot really loudly: Six years in, the legacy of the Tea Party is clear: it has dramatically shifted the Overton Window on expectations for policy within the Republican Party, fundamentally altering what can conceivably be achieved. . . . So HFC members get the best of both worlds: The country cannot blame it for shutting down the government/wreaking financial havoc, but its constituents can’t accuse it of acting all squishy.

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