The Wall Street Journal: House approves GOP bicameral budget deal

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday approved a joint House-Senate GOP budget deal that outlines deep cuts in spending over the next decade. But many lawmakers were already looking for ways to ease more modest spending curbs this year.

Top lawmakers said this week they would consider replacing those across-the-board curbs, known as the sequester, with a deal similar to a two-year accord struck in 2013 by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), which raised spending in exchange for savings found elsewhere in the budget.

“We’re going to have to,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.). He said he wasn’t sure the House would be able to pass the full set of spending bills written to the levels set by the fiscal 2016 budget. “There’s a deal to be had between the White House and the House and Senate leadership to give some relief from sequestration.”

The two-year Murray-Ryan deal allowed lawmakers to largely avoid the kind of brinkmanship that had characterized previous years’ spending debates, and the absence of such an agreement was apparent this week as the House took up its first spending bill, for military construction and Veterans Affairs.

That bill is usually the least contentious of the 12 spending bills. Republican leaders were forced to delay votes on the bill Wednesday night when an amendment from Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) revived a GOP rift over military spending and threatened to disrupt a delicate deal struck with defense hawks over the budget.

Democrats said the episode highlighted the challenges Republicans will face trying to pass partisan spending bills. Most Democrats have said they would only support spending bills that increase both military and domestic spending above the sequester levels.

Read an expanded version of this article at WSJ.com

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