State of play on the budget resolutions

The full House and Senate are moving forward with the budget resolutions in a fairly desultory fashion. The Senate was anticipating a first amendment vote on its version on Monday night, but with no amendments ready for a vote, the Senate voted instead on the nomination of a Federal Maritime Commissioner.

As of Tuesday morning, 38 hours of debate were left on the resolution. Much of that time is being taken up by interminable quorum calls. Around noon today, the Senate is expected to vote on three amendments to the budget resolution:

=Sanders amendment #323, as modified (infrastructure)
=Sanders amendment #386 (side by side to Portman) (protect Medicaid beneficiaries from benefit cuts)
=Portman amendment #349 (medically complex children in Medicaid-don’t ask what this means)

One oops: the Graham (R-S.C.) – Ayotte (R-N.H.) amendment adding $38 billion to the budget resolution for the Overseas Contingency Account that passed 12-10 in committee failed to waive a point of order on the amendment. As a result, 60 votes will be required to approve the measure on the Senate floor when the defense appropriations bill comes up later in the year. Unless the point of order is waived or modified.

More votes are likely later in the day. Other amendments that have been mentioned but not filed; it appears that Democrats and Republicans will offer competing amendments on a number of topics:

=Cornyn (R-Texas) – President’s budget
=Dem side by side?

=Ayotte (R-N.H.) – Choice card
=Dem side by side

=Blunt (R-Mo.) – Carbon tax
=Dem side by side?

=Barrasso (R-Wyo.) – Environmental Protection Agency rule defining “waters of the United States”
=Dem Side by side?

=Mikulski (D-Md.) – equal pay for equal work
=Fischer (R-Neb.) – Ayotte (R-N.H.) side by side

=Dem – Social Security
=Republican side by side

=Murray (D-Wash.) – Sequester
=No Republican side by side at this time

On Thursday, the Senate is likely to engage in what is called a “vote-a-rama,” a long series of votes on amendments back to back with one minute for and one minute against. All germane amendments, loosely defined, will get a vote.

In the House, the Rules Committee approved a rule making in order six budget resolutions in the form of amendments. According to the rule (commonly known as “queen of the hill”), if multiple proposals win a majority of votes in the House, the budget with the highest number of votes will be considered adopted.

In an unusual move, House Members will have the opportunity to vote on the committee-approved budget, without an added $38 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funds, and a budget with added OCO dollars, both as amendments sponsored by Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Other alternative budgets:
=Butterfield (D-NC) Black Caucus alternative budget
=Grijalva (D-Ariz.) Progressive Caucus alternative budget
=Van Hollen (D-Md.) Democratic Caucus alternative budget
=Stutzman (R-Ind.) Republican Study Committee alternative budget