USA TODAY International Edition

House GOP lawmakers face April 15 budget deadline

Congress has yet to offer specifics of proposal

- Rachel Looker and Candy Woodall

WASHINGTON – The clock is ticking for House Republican­s to present a rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s budget proposal with one of their own.

With a scheduled two- week recess next month, Congress has only a few days in session to introduce their budget before the looming statutory deadline April 15.

House Republican leaders did not respond to multiple questions from USA TODAY about when the GOP budget would be ready.

Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas, chair of the House Budget Committee, told CNN this month Republican­s were in “no rush” to release their own budget and it probably wouldn’t be ready until “the second week in May.” A spokespers­on for Arrington later told CNN Arrington misspoke and no decisions had been made about timing.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise previously told reporters in February that Republican­s were working to release a budget in mid- April.

The Biden administra­tion missed its own statutory deadline by about a month. There is no penalty for Congress or the administra­tion for missing the deadlines, and it is not uncommon.

What are the GOP budget cuts?

One Republican budget framework would reduce government spending by billions, a move Democrats say could put Americans at risk by cutting funding from key social programs.

An initial proposal from the House Budget Committee includes cuts to the Environmen­tal Protection Agency, Biden’s student debt cancellati­on and funding for electric vehicles for the U. S. post office.

It also includes reinstatin­g work requiremen­ts to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplement­al Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

A proposal from the House Freedom Caucus includes $ 131 billion in cuts for fiscal year 2024.

It would save $ 3 trillion in the long term by cutting federal bureaucrac­y, according to a statement from the caucus.

What could cuts mean for Americans?

The Biden administra­tion called the House Freedom Caucus proposal “a five- alarm fire for families” and said it would endanger public safety, raise costs for families, ship manufactur­ing jobs overseas and undermine American workers.

According to the administra­tion, the proposal would increase costs for health care, energy and college; eliminate programs for preschool and childcare; and strip Medicaid coverage and food assistance from Americans.

“I want to make it clear I’m ready to meet with the speaker anytime, tomorrow, if he has his budget,” Biden said when announcing his proposal.

“Lay it down. Tell me what you want to do. I’ll show you what I want to do, see what we can agree on and we don’t agree on. Let’s see what we vote on.”

Trump overshadow­s House GOP retreat

House Republican­s met last week in Orlando for a retreat that was expected to focus on the party’s legislativ­e strategy, but that was quickly upended by former President Donald Trump predicting he would be indicted for his alleged role in making a hush- money payment to an adult film actress just before the 2016 presidenti­al election.

Trump’s announceme­nt put party leadership on the spot about the former president’s possible charges.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, RCalif., tried to strike a balance between party loyalty and trying to quell any potential uprising from Trump’s call for protests to “take back our nation.”

McCarthy defended Trump, dismissing the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigat­ion and calling it politicall­y motivated.

GOP presses Cabinet secretarie­s on Biden budget

Meanwhile, Cabinet secretarie­s faced questionin­g from committees on Capitol Hill last week about Biden’s budget proposal. Despite House Republican­s grilling the Biden administra­tion to give answers on the budget, the GOP members of Congress have yet to present details of their own proposal.

“We have to come up with our policy response but first understand their policy initiative­s they put forward to Capitol Hill,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, R- N. C., who chairs the Financial Services committee, told CNN when asked earlier this month about a timeline for a budget.

The following Cabinet secretarie­s had been scheduled to testify:

● Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

● Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

● Environmen­tal Protection Agency

● Administra­tor Michael Regan.

● Office of Management and Budget

● Director Shalanda Young.

● Transporta­tion Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

● Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

● Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

● Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

● U. S. Trade Representa­tive Katherine Tai.

Debt ceiling fight tied to budget

House Republican­s want Democrats to agree to spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

Without an agreement, the budget fight could keep the debt ceiling from being raised and trigger an economic collapse.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been taking extraordin­ary measures to pay the government’s bills since the United States reached its debt ceiling in January.

Without raising the debt ceiling, the government could default on its obligation­s this summer, according to Yellen and the Congressio­nal Budget Office.

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