A key Republican lawmaker withdrew his challenge and cleared the way for the House of Representatives and Senate to move ahead Wednesday with their budget resolution.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., put the brakes on a jointly negotiated report that narrows differences between House and Senate proposed spending plans. He complained of budget gimmicks that allow Congress to lift defense spending above current caps through promised future spending offsets in so-called mandatory spending programs.
“There is no question this budget is far from perfect, but it is some progress since it has been a long time since the Congress has completed this basic part of governing,” said Corker in a statement. “I have had conversations on both sides of the Capitol laying out what I believe we need to do to prepare for next year’s budget process so that we can make much greater progress toward addressing the tremendous fiscal challenges our country faces.”
With Corker’s blessing, leaders of both chambers can take the budget resolution to their respective floors for a vote late this week.
A budget resolution, elusive for a decade under divided rule, is a blueprint for spending and is not subject to a presidential veto. Lawmakers will then have to pass spending bills, which are subject to a veto.
Corker was critical of an accounting mechanism that in Washington vernacular was called CHIMPS_ Changes in Mandatory Programs. He failed to win changes and after 48 hours ended his opposition and allowed leadership to move to a vote.
Democrats promised to have nothing to do with the GOP spending plan, which proposes deep cuts in government programs over the next decade.
“The budgets put forward by the House and Senate Republicans disinvest in America, hurt the middle class, threaten retirement security for our seniors, and use gimmicky accounting tricks to falsely claim balance,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “Simply put, it is a short-sighted plan that makes it harder for families to achieve the American dream.”