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The Latest Battle in the Spending Wars

Apr 26, 2012

This is an excerpt from Executive Insight Briefing, produced every Thursday by the National Journal’s Daily Briefings Team.

The prospect of a congressional brawl over shutting down the government a little more than a month before the November elections edged closer on Wednesday, when the House Appropriations Committee further distanced Republicans from last summer’s debt-ceiling agreement.

The panel approved, on a party-line vote, allocation levels in line with the House-passed GOP budget—$19 billion below the topline set by the Budget Control Act, and a full $27 billion more in cuts to non-defense programs. On a 29-20 vote, the committee defeated a substitute amendment from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) that would have brought spending in line with last year’s agreement.

That means the two parties in Congress, with President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney acting as proxies, will spend the next several months battling over spending – reminiscent of last year’s months-long string of battles.

The ugly specter of a government shutdown on Oct. 1, the start of a new fiscal year, could sufficiently gall both parties to the point that they agree to punt into the lame-duck session, whose calendar is already crowded by other measures caught up in the spending wars.

Read the complete April 26, 2012, edition of Executive Insight Briefing.

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