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Capitol Hill Update: April 10, 2018

04/10/2018

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House will be back in session today, voting on a series of suspension bills at 6:30 PM. On Wednesday they will vote on a rule for two financial services bills, H.R. 4293 and H.R. 4061, to be voted on that afternoon. The rule also allows for extended debate on a constitutional balanced budget amendment to be voted on Thursday at 5:00 PM following four hours of debate. On Friday, the House will vote on H.R. 4790, a fix to the Volcker Rule that would provide an exemption for banks with assets of $10 billion or less.

The imminent vote on a balanced budget amendment this week in the House presents an interesting situation. It fulfills a promise made by leadership to allow a vote on a balanced budget amendment, but coming less than three weeks after Congress passed the fiscally atrocious omnibus spending bill and requiring a supermajority to pass, it does not offer real promise to fiscal conservatives.

This will simply give Republicans the chance to vote “for a balanced budget” in an election year, after most have just voted to ensure the fiscal state of our nation remains beyond dire for the foreseeable future. This foreseeable future, by the way, has been illuminated by the updated report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018-2028, released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) yesterday.

Experts have been predicting that yearly deficits will to trillion-dollar levels and that our debt-to-GDP ratios will eventually see our debt eclipse the size of the economy. The official government report projects that the fiscal year 2019 deficit will be just shy of $1 trillion and fiscal year 2028 will see a deficit of over $1.5 trillion -- almost double that of fiscal year 2018. It also projects that by 2028, the debt held by the public will be 96.2 percent of GDP, nearly eclipsing the size of the economy. Needless to say, CBO has confirmed budget hawks’ fiscal fears.

Last week, we learned that congressional Republicans have been working with the Trump administration on a potential rescissions package to reign in some of the spending appropriated by the recent omnibus spending bill. While many are skeptical of the sincerity of such a measure, rescissions packages have been approved by Congress in the past.

Fiscally conservative members should take this initiative seriously, and jump at the chance to approve any and all proposed cuts to the bill that President Trump himself wanted to veto. Our friends at the Conservative Partnership Institute outline the rescissions process and its history here.

The full committee schedule can be found here.

Senate:

The Senate is expected to be focused on nominees this week, having filed cloture on multiple nominees prior to leaving for recess two weeks ago: Charia Horn Boom, John F. Ring, Patrick Pizzella, Andrew Wheeler, John W. Broomes, and Rebecca Grady Jennings.

Yesterday on the floor, Majority Leader McConnell said that this week “will not end until all of these amply qualified nominees are confirmed.” We look forward to seeing that promise kept.

We are also keeping an eye out for the Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval, S.J.Res. 52, led by Senate Democrats which would undo the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order. FreedomWorks opposes the resolution.

The full committee schedule can be found here.