Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

House GOP Uses Once-Reviled Tactic for Budget Measure

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who once considered using “deem and pass” when Democrats had the majority, blasted Republicans for using the maneuver.

“They want to ‘deem and pass’ it using a procedural trick to pretend that both the House and the Senate have signed off on their radical agenda,” she said.

Earlier in the day, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer argued that while both sides have done it, Republicans are being hypocritical because they insisted during the 2010 elections that they would no longer use such procedural maneuvers.

“Now, they have done it before, we have done it ourselves,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “You will remember our Republican friends, how much they thought deeming was dishonest.”

Republicans, however, insisted that the process is necessary in order to move on with the budget process because the Senate has not passed a budget.

Representing his party on the floor, Rep. Rob Bishop said the House passed a budget in regular order this year, which House Democrats did not in 2010. The procedure would only be in effect until a budget is actually passed. In the meantime, the process allows appropriators to pass their bills and allows Republicans to replace a scheduled across-the-board cut to defense through the budget reconciliation process.

“We can only move forward in doing the work of this Congress … if we have certain procedural issues done in advance,” the Utah Republican said. “Sometime, the Senate has to do their work. Hopefully, they do it soon, and then this issue will be moot.”

The procedure is being resurrected now because a budget resolution, such as the budget passed by the House last month, does not have the force of law. Because the Senate has not passed a budget that it can reconcile with the House-passed document, the House Rules Committee tacked the budget numbers onto the rule for another bill.

In this case, it was a bill that would promote hunting and fishing on public lands and exempt bullets and fishing lures from the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Doing so allows the House to enforce a fiscal 2013 spending cap of $1.028 trillion instead of the $1.047 trillion cap agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act.

The committee released a long explainer justifying its decision to deem the budget.

“The Rules of the House and the enforcement mechanisms in the Budget Act rely on the numbers in a budget agreed to by both House and Senate to ensure that Congress doesn’t overspend,” the statement read. “When the Senate refuses to act, the House must take steps to ensure that it can responsibly proceed with the appropriations and budget process.

“While we’d prefer an agreed-upon budget resolution, it is essential that some budget enforcement be put in place,” the statement continued. “Absent Senate action on its own budget and a House-Senate agreement, the House cannot move forward on key budget priorities.”

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