Issue Tracker: Race to Recess

Issue Tracker: Race to Recess

The House and Senate have set a blistering pace so far in 2015, collectively taking only a few weeks off since starting a new congressional session. But this is the final week before both chambers leave for a two-week recess March 30-April 10. As of press time, both chambers intended to take up their respective 2016 budget resolutions. Here are three things to watch as lawmakers scurry to the exits.

Issue: Are the Votes There?

What’s happening: House GOP leaders will need 217 GOP votes to pass a resolution and set the stage for a conference committee process with the Senate. And that process is necessary to produce a common spending blueprint. The House GOP plan would cut $5.5 trillion in total federal spending; the Senate Republican proposal cuts $5.1 trillion. Both measures stick to existing spending caps, meaning they would give the Pentagon $499 billion after sequestration. The House tried to blunt sequester’s punch by swelling the war fund to $90 billion. At press time, the Senate’s measure proposed taking the Obama administration’s $50.9 billion war-funding request to $58 billion. It also proposes a reserve fund to be tapped for bigger annual defense budgets if a bipartisan sequester-busting pact is forged.

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