House Republicans are planning to hold a vote on January 25 on a resolution allowing House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to reduce certain spending levels to 2008 levels or less for the remainder of FY 2011, without the need for a full House vote.
The House Rules Committee this afternoon approved an amended H.Res 38, which instructs the Budget Committee to allocate funds for non-security discretionary spending for remainder of FY 2011 at 2008 levels or less. This is slightly different from the original resolution that Rules introduced earlier this week, which called for spending levels that reflect a "transition" to 2008 spending levels.
The change, which was approved in a partisan vote this afternoon, came about through an amendment to the resolution introduced by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The Rules Committee also approved a rule that allows for one hour of debate on the resolution. When the measure comes up on the House floor next week, there will be one hour of debate on the rule, and one hour of debate on the resolution itself.
At the Rules hearing today, Ranking Budget Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) charged that Republicans are rushing the resolution for next week in order to be able to point out some action on cutting federal spending on Tuesday, just before President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address. To that charge, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said "you bet," and said Republicans are eager to start cutting spending as soon as possible.
While Dreier did not explicitly agree that a vote would be held on January 25, he did not reject the idea. Republicans are expected to discuss the timing of the vote tomorrow.
Democrats today also complained that H.Res. 38 will allow Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to establish his own budget levels, and that Republicans should announce the spending levels before asking others to vote on the resolution. Republicans countered that the resolution is needed because 2011 spending levels have not yet been established, and rejected a Democratic amendment to ensure that the full House approves spending levels as established by the Budget Committee.
Updated at 5:15 p.m.