Updated (3/7/2016): Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have stated that they delay consideration of the Republican Budget Resolution this month. With both the House and Senate struggling to come to a consensus on a budget agreement, there may be a strong chance that Congress may skip passing a budget altogether this year.
House Republican leaders have released initial details of their budget resolution that provides $1.07 trillion in discretionary spending for FY 2017. According to a memo distributed to House Republican members, the plan remains consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015. Details of the plan include:
- A plan to balance the budget within 10 years, which includes additional cuts to federal discretionary spending by more than $6 trillion, and instructions for a $30 billion mandatory savings package;
- Full funding for defense base requirements
- A repeal of Obamacare and language that promotes access to patient-centered health care reform
- A plan that ‘Saves, strengthens, and secures Medicare and Medicaid’
In order to appeal to conservatives who are skeptical around the proposed budget, GOP leaders have suggested policy riders to be included in the upcoming appropriations bills, targeting:
- The Abortion Non-discrimination Act,
- Implementation of the Waters of the United States rule,
- The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule,
- EPA implementation of new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants.
At the moment, it does not appear that the budget is finalized, and the party does not appear to be united on a plan. It is also important to note that if the budget resolution were to pass Congress, it does not become law, as it does not require the President’s signature for approval. Therefore the agreement is non-binding, and only serves a blueprint for Congress as they approach creating appropriations bills.
At the moment, there appears to be no released information in regards to funding for the Department of Education or programs that affect access to music education and well-rounded initiatives. NAfME will continue to monitor the situation closely and report on information as it becomes readily available.
Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, March 1, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)