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Budget Negotiations Show Little Progress

October 9, 2015— A second week of high level talks on a possible budget agreement to lift the fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending caps and break the impasse on the 12 annual appropriations bills has produced few signs of progress.

Budget talks reportedly are underway at the staff level, including participation by Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, but nothing has been released publicly.

Democratic appropriators are calling for a new overall spending cap to be negotiated by early November so that the FY 2016 spending bills can be completed by Dec. 11 when the current continuing resolution expires.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has packaged 11 of the 12 FY 2016 spending bills into four so-called “minibuses” to prepare for potential floor votes, but Democrats are expected to oppose these measures.

The Labor-HHS-Education bill (S. 1695) has been grouped with Interior-Environment (S. 1645) and Financial Services (S. 1910). The three measures are considered the most contentious of the annual spending bills.

Senate Democrats Oct. 8 blocked consideration of a stand-alone Water-Energy appropriations bill (H.R. 2028). Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking members of the Appropriations Committee, reiterated that Democrats would not permit consideration of spending under the current spending caps, saying “I believe we should have a sensible approach to spending… [T]hese budget caps are placing a cap on our national security. They are placing a cap also on our compelling infrastructure needs that every state is crying out for…We are also capping innovation.”


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806