Congress Returns from Recess, Probably Won’t Pass a Budget

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Our Republican-controlled Congress will return to session tomorrow after nearly a month of recess and they evidently haven't made any progress toward advancing Speaker Paul Ryan's grand vision.

Republicans in the House of Representatives face a deadline of this Friday to agree on a budget after which time Republicans in the Senate can move forward with their own plans. Various Republican senators, for their part, do not believe Republicans in the House are capable of reaching an agreement among themselves and neither do I.

“We’re watching the House and what they can do. If they can do it then I’m confident that we’ll be voting on one too,” said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). [...]

Another Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the Senate GOP conference is waiting to see if House Republicans can overcome their internal divisions to pass a budget.

I don’t think anybody thinks that can happen,” the lawmaker said, projecting the chances of Senate action as low.

If the House does not agree to adopt Speaker Paul Ryan's latest iteration of the Path to Prosperity Poverty budget, that doesn't necessarily mean neither chamber of Congress will pass spending bills.

Congress and the White House already agreed to a baseline level of spending that will guide appropriations for the next fiscal year, but both chambers will still have to come up with votes to pass any of it. The same ideological and practical differences that will prevent them from passing their own budget could also prevent them from passing any appropriations bill regardless of how uncontroversial it is. For some members of Congress, an uncontroversial spending bill is itself controversial.

I expect Congress will manage to pass several spending bills that align with previously-agreed to numbers, but big questions will remain throughout the spring and summer and possibly even the November election.

  • muselet

    The article quotes Senate Rs bleating about House Rs, largely because the House Rs are making the Senate Rs look bad. I could come over all cynical and quote The Simpsons‘s “Kent Brockman” (“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work.”), but that’s what the GOP wants us to do.

    Republican incompetence stopped being funny long ago.


    • gescove

      I especially like the quote from Sen. Grassley (R-What Supreme Court Nominee?): “I guess the budget law says we ought to have a budget. We ought to follow the law.” Gosh, d’ya think so, Senator?

      • muselet

        Yeah, that “I guess” is something to behold.