While the Senate on Tuesday passed the budget agreement for fiscal year 2016 that the House passed last week, which marked the first time in six years that Congress has agreed on a budget blueprint, political watchers say the tough work on getting bipartisan concessions to solidify a deal has just begun.
Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, notes that while the House and Senate agreeing to a budget conference blueprint “represents a critical first step forward in restoring regular legislative order,” it was adopted on a party-line vote.
The “goals” outlined in the adopted resolution, “reducing the nation’s debt and balancing the federal budget,” Hoagland said, “cannot be achieved without a roadmap for bipartisan support.”
The budget resolution, he continued, “sets aspirational goals for what Republicans in Congress think the budget ought to look like. But implementing it depends on two subsequent actions—how appropriations bills are structured and whether the reconciliation instructions can actually achieve the reduced entitlement spending that the blueprint assumes.”
Indeed, political strategist Andy Friedman of The Washington Update told ThinkAdvisor in an email message that the “major battle” over the budget will happen in September, as Congress will turn to hashing it out after its August recess.