The House Budget Committee is planning to unveil a long-awaited budget resolution next week calling for a spending boost to the Pentagon alongside cuts to domestic programs, despite lingering disputes within the GOP conference.
House budget writers reached a tentative agreement this afternoon to move ahead with a resolution that would set spending levels at $511 billion for domestic programs and $621 billion for defense, two lawmakers confirmed. Compared to current law, that would amount to a $72 billion boost for defense and a $4 billion cut for domestic spending.
The budget resolution would also instruct GOP committees to cut $150 billion from mandatory programs over a decade. Those cuts, while not specified in the budget, would be intended to target anti-poverty programs, like food stamps and disability insurance, according to members.
“We’d like to mark up next week, next Wednesday,” senior member Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said, acknowledging the committee still has “a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross.”
The mandatory spending cuts — which, unlike the rest of the budget proposal, would actually become law — have been among the most controversial pieces of this year’s GOP budget. The cuts would be included as reconciliation instructions, alongside tax reform, which means the legislation could dodge the Senate’s filibuster.
Rep. Mark Sanford, who sits on the committee, said he was pushing right up until the end for members to aim for far more spending cuts.
"Think about how small $150 billion over 10 years is," he told reporters after the meeting. "To say that we’re doing robust work in deficit reduction I don’t think is the case."
The defense spending comes in above the Trump administration’s proposal of $603 billion but falls short of the $640 billion members of the House Armed Services Committee demanded. Those lawmakers fought for the $640 billion spending levels in this morning’s House GOP conference meeting.
“It’s not everything the defense people want, but it’s certainly a substantial increase for them," Cole said. "If you’re a non-defense appropriator, you don’t like that cut, but it’s not an unreasonable cut."
House GOP leaders have not yet given the official approval, Cole added, though he said he believes they will sign.
A spokesman for the House Budget Committee said nothing has been finalized.