When they return after the Easter-Passover recess, the first order of business in the US Congress is likely to be the reconciliation of differences between House- and Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolutions.
While both chambers have passed largely similar proposals, differences exists between both chambers over how deeply to cut domestic spending. In addition, Republican defense and deficit hawks continue to disagree over how much money to provide the Department of Defense.
The 2011 budget agreement and deficit reduction sequester established spending caps on defense funding, which many Republican defense hawks argue do not provide adequate defense spending, especially given the current perilous global security situation. Fiscal conservatives argue that any increase in spending for DOD should be offset. The military funding issue and the scope of domestic funding cuts are expected to consume much of the debate as House and Senate conference committee members work out a path toward a joint budget resolution, which must be enacted by both chambers in order to permit them to take up a reconciliation bill. A reconciliation bill can carry lots of unrelated provisions, but lurking in the background is the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in both chambers’ budgets, a provision that will prompt a veto of any likely reconciliation bill.