Deja vu: Budget battle looms

Obama's opposition to House appropriations bills signals another long summer of contention over funding the government.

Obama and the budget

Obama's opposition to House appropriations bills signals that another long summer of contention over funding the government is likely. (FCW image)

President Obama would veto the House versions of appropriations bills funding Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and military construction, in part because the measures maintain the freeze on federal civilian pay, according to a pair of June 3 policy statements from the Office of Management and Budget. That announcement is the latest move in what is shaping up to be another protracted battle on funding the federal government for fiscal year 2014.

The administration wants the House to nominate conferees to reconcile the House and Senate budgets before starting work on appropriations bills. That seems increasingly unlikely in the current political climate, especially considering the gulf between the two budgets. The House cuts taxes and uses spending levels under sequestration as the baseline for the federal budget, while the Senate version raises taxes and restores cuts made under the Budget Control Act.

The President’s budget steers a course between the two chambers, but tilts toward the Senate version, with increased revenues from changes to the tax code, including limits on deductions enjoyed by the wealthiest taxpayers, and a proposed one percent pay hike for civilian federal employees.

The administration has a list of specific objections to the individual bills, and some points of praise as well. But the main complaint appears to be that maintaining the spending framework of sequestration, "would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities." Regardless, House appropriators are moving full steam ahead on the suite of bills to fund the government, releasing funding bills for Defense and Agriculture on June 4.

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