The two budget committees are expected to act on a budget resolution this week. The House Budget Committee will meet on Wednesday and likely act all in one day. The Senate Budget Committee will meet on Wednesday and Thursday.
A budget resolution is supposed to be jointly approved by the House and Senate to have any real impact. It is not signed by the President but it sets spending targets for the 12 appropriations bills. It can also direct the Congress to have a reconciliation process that is intended to address deficit reduction, tax changes and increases in the debt ceiling. The reconciliation process is important because it restricts Senate debate and can pass with 51 votes while also cutting off Senate debate.
Under a reconciliation the budget resolution could direct key committees to cut or eliminate programs such as SSBG, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The key questions for the budget committee will determine: Will they attempt to eliminate the sequestration cuts and spending caps? Will they attempt to balance the federal budget in ten years and will they propose to do it without new tax revenue? Will they require a reconciliation process? If they do provide a reconciliation key questions are, Will they have more than one, with past congresses using more than one in the year? Will they attempt to use the process to attack or repeal the Affordable Care Act? Will they use the process as a “message” bill that would include congressional priorities and repeal and restrict some of the Administration’s priorities and as a result get a certain veto? Will they use the reconciliation for a serious effort to find common ground with the Administration in some areas such as tax reform or transportation or other issues that have not been addressed in years?
Once a resolution is approved it will debated on each house floor and is then conferenced and then later reapproved by both houses. Any conference committee will likely be pro forma since the leadership of each house will be coordinating a final product. The technical deadline is April 15 which will occur after the two week spring break.