Senate Democrats: Boost domestic spending, not just defense


Chairwoman Black "is 100 percent committed to getting a budget done".

"Those committees have other obligations, and it's a matter of us finding a way to move forward", Black told reporters Tuesday. "Going to a new budget reconciliation without understanding in principle where we are going on a border adjustment tax would be very hard to do", he said.

"I do see a viable path, and I am going to continue to push until we have that 218". "The committee plans to keep this process moving after the July 4th recess".

Five senior Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, sent a letter to Republican leaders on Monday that called for "continuing the parity principle" of equal increases for both defense and domestic spending, which was the basis for spending deals during the Obama administration.

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Some Republicans are beginning to question whether the conference can overcome its differences and pass a budget, something they fell short of a year ago.

Black said she did not have a date for when the budget will be released but she remains "adamant" that House Republicans will get to one, noting they are "very close".

"We set ourselves up for cutting taxes for businesses while potentially weakening the safety net programs for lower-income people, so if you want to deal with entitlements, do it in next year's budget, not this year's", he said. But the push for cuts to programs including Medicaid and food stamps, which benefit the poor, threatens to engulf the debate in a Republican free-for-all that could end in a stalemate.

The House Budget Committee canceled plans to send a budget resolution for fiscal 2018 to the floor this week, lawmakers said on Tuesday, as conservative Republicans pushed to add hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the spending blueprint that would take effect October 1.

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"No budget, no tax reform", said Representative Mark Walker, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 150 conservative lawmakers.

Among the Republicans pushing for more are the hardline conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus.

Defense hawks have also been pushing for higher military spending; the defense spending bill being considered by appropriators assumes a top line number of $658.1 billion, well over the amount that had been considered by the budget committee. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said he wanted another $295 billion in cuts on top of that.

Mr. Brat said he didn't want to name names, but that some Republican leaders are resistant to looking for cuts. "So it's a work in progress in terms of what we can do on the mandatory spending reduction side". But ultimately the path forward on a budget involves a deal with the Senate on either repealing, suspending or busting the spending caps in the Budget Control Act, he said. "We just needed more time to do that", the aide said. The budget doesn't identify the specific cuts, but rather would ask various committees to reach the target deficit reduction numbers.

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