Senate Democrats: Boost domestic spending, not just defense

What the Health-Care Vote Means for the Midterm Elections

Their aim is to cut mandatory programs that are required by law and viewed as principle drivers of deficit spending.

But that number has failed to satisfy either wing of the Republican conference, and plans to mark up the budget this week have been shelved.

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

"I will continue to say I don't have a date for you", Black said. "I do see a viable path".

One senior House GOP leadership aide insisted that the conference was still on track to pull together the budget but said conservatives were the sticking point, pressing for a broader deficit reduction number than some committee chairs were comfortable signing onto.

The budget committee canceled its plans this week after the chairmen of several other panels pushed back against efforts to include $250 billion in spending cuts, a sum that some conservatives say is too low.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a moderate, said $150 billion is an "aggressive number to begin with".

"It has to be linked to tax reform, because we believe tax reform is going to happen", Jordan said in an interview. "We just set ourselves up to cutting taxes for businesses, while potentially weakening the safety net programs for the regular people".

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Meadows said the Freedom Caucus has shown a willingness to support the higher topline numbers the Budget Committee has negotiated if they were paired with more mandatory savings cuts.

A large portion of the proposed budget savings would need to come from agriculture programs, such as food stamps, because the tax writing committee was constrained to come up with money as it worked through its tax plan.

"50 billion is a lot of money", he said.

Other moderates have also cautioned that the effort to do mandatory spending cuts through reconciliation, which has the support of the House's two conservative caucuses, the Republican Study Committee and the Freedom Caucus, could derail a tax overhaul.

House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black has forged an agreement with the Armed Services panel to increase the Pentagon's budget by nearly $20 billion above President Donald Trump's request, with another $10 billion in war costs tacked on. 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. "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.

Of course, the House's budget numbers are unlikely to be agreed to in the Senate, where Democrats who object to the lower domestic spending topline can filibuster spending bills.

With negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders stalled, GOP lawmakers are eyeing a continuing resolution to keep state government operating if no budget deal is reached this week. "We can talk about $511 billion today and $621 billion, but we know that numbers are going to change".

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