The Hill: Pelosi blasts start of appropriations without top line budget

Congressional appropriators will kick off their process of marking up spending bills Monday evening, despite not having a top line budget number to guide their spending.

Normally, appropriators start marking up spending bills after the passage of a budget resolution, which sets the amounts appropriators divvy up to various programs.

When the House appropriations subcommittee on Military Construction takes up the bill on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Monday at 7:00, it will be working to distribute portions of a budget without knowing how big that overall budget is.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday said the process was “irresponsible.”

“Instead of working constructively, Republicans’ markup is just pushing us deeper into the destructive uncertainty and chaos over the budget. Marking up one discretionary bill without any sense of the whole is irresponsible and counterproductive,” Pelosi said.

The proposed bill is set at $88.8 billion, which is $6 billion above the 2017 funding level, and $573 million less than what President Trump proposed in his budget.

But it also includes even more, $638 million, in funding through Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which aren’t subject to budget caps.

The 2017 budget process was greatly delayed by the lack of a 2017 spending bill when the new administration came into office. Congress worked out a deal on 2017 spending in early May, and remains several months behind the typical budgetary process.

For procedural reasons, the House and Senate are holding off on finalizing new budget resolutions for 2018 until after they address an Obamacare overhaul. Once the new budget resolution is reconciled, they will not longer be able to take advantage of a process for passing healthcare that only requires a simple majority in the Senate.

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