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Big Budget Provisions Pass the House

Late yesterday, the House passed a war-funding bill. But the $80 billion bill actually includes only $37 billion in war funding; the rest is made up of domestic spending, including $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs, $5 billion for Pell Grants, $1 billion for summer jobs for youths and $700 million for border security, among many other provisions.

Controversially, the House bill funds the $10 billion for education jobs in part by taking away $800 million from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and other Obama administration education reform efforts. Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) inserted that change. Democratic senators might change the provision when the bill comes back to the upper chamber. “The proposed education cuts are unacceptable,” 13 Senators, led by Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), wrote to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Choosing between preserving teacher jobs and supporting vital education reforms is a false choice and would set a dangerous precedent.” President Obama is threatening to veto the bill when it makes it to his desk if it includes the education cuts.

The House also deemed as passed a budget enforcement [resolution](Commits the House to vote on any Senate-passed recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission and that net savings from any Commission recommendations will go to deficit reduction.”), setting a discretionary spending cap of $1.1 trillion for next year — $7 billion less than the White House wanted. It also stipulates deficit reduction along the lines the White House had already laid out. Here’s the controversial bit: Rather than saying what the House wants cut, the bill pushes the decision to the deficit commission and the Senate. “While this resolution does not project the budget out over five years, it does look to the future by assuring that the House will have an opportunity to vote this year on longer-term budget proposals made by the president’s Fiscal Commission and approved by the Senate,” Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) told The Hill.

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