Budgets Signal Spending Caps Here to Stay

Budgets Signal Spending Caps Here to Stay

WASHINGTON — What to do about spending caps is one issue House and Senate negotiators can skip as they craft a compromise 2016 federal budget blueprint.

That’s because spending resolutions approved last week by the House and Senate both leave defense and domestic spending caps in place.

“We know now ever since 2011 we have been living with sequestration,” Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said last week on the Senate floor. “While we have been dealing with sequestration, the world has turned into a place with enormous turmoil.”

Many of McCain’s colleagues, Republican and Democrat, agree.

Yet, both chambers’ budget resolutions include the same amount for the Pentagon’s base budget: $499 billion. That’s the amount allowed under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Both chambers approved more overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding — $96 billion by the House, $89 billion by the Senate — but defense hawks and Pentagon officials wanted extra base budget monies.

There was little chance of securing that, however, as GOP deficit hawks demanded keeping the defense and domestic caps in place.

As McCain noted during a March 26 appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), his House Republican “Freedom Caucus” colleagues have successfully made spending cuts and deficit reduction more important than many other issues on Capitol Hill.

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