Step one in the budget process is complete.
The House of Representatives passed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 on Wednesday. The final vote was 228-199, after lawmakers voted down a similar spending package that included less for defense spending. The measure calls for $96 billion in Pentagon spending, much more than the $58 billion President Obama’s budget calls for.
Next, the Senate plans to vote on a similar, but not identical, measure. That vote is expected on Friday. Assuming it passes, the real work would begin.
Lawmakers from both houses would form a reconciliation committee and work out the differences between the bills.
But if they can get past that step, The Hill explains: “Republicans will be able to trigger a budget procedure known as reconciliation that could be used to target ObamaCare, reform the tax code and raise the debt ceiling, among other things. Bills written under reconciliation rules could not be blocked by a Senate filibuster.”
If it’s adopted, and if future lawmakers hold to its promises, the House budget would balance in about 10 years. Future years would see deep cuts in domestic spending, an overhaul of Medicare to encourage senior citizens to buy private insurance, and Medicaid turned over to the states as a block grant program.
The budget also has instructions for all 13 House spending committees, ordering them to produce deficit-cutting bills by mid-summer. The next fiscal year begins October 1.