By Matt Vallone, Director of Research & Analysis
Main Story: Senate Seeks to Pass a Budget for FY 2018
The House is out of session this week, but the Senate is in town and grappling with passing a budget for FY 2018. As we have documented previously, the normal time to pass a budget resolution is in the early spring, giving time for the appropriations committees to adopt individual spending bills and to lay out priorities for the fiscal year. This year, though, the budget is being used primarily as a vehicle to provide reconciliation instructions for high-priority Republican bills, first with the FY 2017 budget (adopted in early 2017) as the vehicle for repealing the Affordable Care Act and now with the FY 2018 budget as the vehicle for tax reform. However, the slim Republican majority in the Senate is still working through details on the budget. The absence of Senator Thad Cochran, recovering from an infection in Mississippi, means they can only afford to lose one vote and still pass the budget. Given that Senator Rand Paul voted against the ‘shell’ FY 2017 budget, it is unclear if he would vote for a similarly structured FY 2018 budget, which would mean that the Senate GOP caucus cannot afford to lose another vote. While this all may sound dramatic, our expectation is that at the end of the week the votes will be there to pass the budget, even if it means having Vice President Mike Pence cast his second tie-breaking vote of the year.
House Activity – The House is out of session this week.
Senate Activity – The Senate will debate a budget resolution for FY 2018. For those of you who enjoy odd government spectacles, this week should bring a ‘vote-a-rama’ to the Senate. This is a stretch of many hours where Senators rapidly debate and vote on dozens of amendments to the proposed budget resolution in quick succession. It’s really something to watch and will likely take place on Thursday.
- SASC – 10/19 ‘Roles and Responsibilities for Defending the Nation from Cyber Attack’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
- HASC – No hearings this week
- HAC-D – No hearings this week
- SAC-D – No hearings this week
Washington Activity Round-Up
CBO continues to release interesting material relevant to defense. This week it has a report on ‘Approaches to Changing Military Health Care’ that looks at trends in DoD’s health care spending and potential paths to reduce cost growth and improve the quality of care. Full report here.
Avascent has released a new ‘Avascent First Person’ featuring Lt. Col. David “Chip” Berke, USMC (ret) discussing the future of Fifth Generation Fighters. He discusses how different the F-22 and the F-35 are from previous aircraft and how leveraging these capabilities fully will require more focus on communications and electronic warfare. Full interview here.
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