February 26, 2014
House and Senate appropriators will begin their FY2015 work this week with the goal of moving all 12 annual spending bills through the legislative process before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
House and Senate appropriators are holding a trio of hearings this week ahead of next Tuesday’s White House budget release on two traditionally divisive domestic spending measures: Labor-HHS-Education and Financial Services. Two of the biggest budget questions have already been settled, with top-line discretionary spending locked in at $1.014 trillion and defense funding capped at $521.4 billion. The central question remaining is how members choose to divide the $492.5 billion reserved for domestic discretionary programs in the December budget agreement (PL 113-67) among priorities as varied as education, scientific research, health care, and financial regulation.
In other news, House Ways and Means Chairman Camp (R-MI) will unveil his tax overhaul plan on Wednesday that’s expected to lower top individual and corporate income tax rates while imposing a surtax on wealthy individuals and the biggest banks and insurers. Although Camp’s plan is aimed at being revenue neutral, it would redraw large parts of the tax code with far-reaching, high-stakes tax policy changes that will trigger a large battle between political and corporate interests. The details are part of an ambitious plan to rewrite the tax code from top to bottom that the Michigan Republican plans to offer to a Congress that appears uninterested in tackling anything that includes tough political choices.
But it is unclear as to whether Chairman Camp has support from GOP leadership to advance this sort of tax overhaul. Leaders in both chambers have all but dismissed the possibility of a tax overhaul this year since many are reluctant to take up a politically tricky tax overhaul in an election year.