The House of Representatives passed a $1.6 trillion “deeming resolution” Wednesday, setting the topline for federal discretionary spending in 2023. The move allows appropriators to start advancing various parts of the annual spending package, even as negotiations continue with the Senate on the details.
The 218-205 vote to adopt the resolution occurred as part of a debate over gun control on the floor of the House – a maneuver that was criticized by some Republicans, all of whom opposed the measure. House Budget ranking member Jason Smith (R-MO) accused Democrats of “smuggling their spending levels for the upcoming appropriations process into a rule for a totally unrelated bill so they don’t have to debate or defend their out-of-control spending habits.”
House Democrats said they were simply doing their job by using a technical procedure to keep the appropriations process on track. “Setting a discretionary topline is a core responsibility of the Budget Committee in the appropriations process,” said Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY). “This resolution supports President Biden’s FY23 budget request with a topline discretionary funding level of $1.6 trillion — a 9 percent increase from FY22 enacted levels.”
Still, budget hawks were not happy with the way things played out, charging that lawmakers are failing to live up to their budgeting responsibilities. “It’s beyond disappointing that Congress won’t even try to pass a budget this year,” Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in a statement. “In fact, they aren’t even pretending to try. What’s the point of having a Budget Committee if they are never going to put forward a budget?”