WASHINGTON — Any budget deal struck later this year that raises defense and domestic spending caps likely would originate in the House and Senate Appropriations committees, says a key senator.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is one of a handful of senators who sit on the Senate Budget and Armed Services committees who are talking about what a cap-busting budget deal might look like. And while it was the chairs of the House and Senate Budget panels who brokered the last deal, Kaine says the calendar means the task would fall on the Appropriations "cardinals" — the panels' chairmen and ranking members — this time.
"At the end of the day, a Ryan-Murray II will probably be done through the appropriations process … rather than through a budget conference or some separate group," Kaine told reporters recently.
He was referring to a fiscal bill from late 2012 crafted by then-House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and then-Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. That bill provided two years of relief from spending caps for defense and domestic programs. A Ryan-Murray II bill would do the same.
"There's a lot of recognition that the budget caps enacted in August of 2011 just are not realistic for the issues that we're facing," he added.
Alabama GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, who was Appropriations Committee ranking member last session, said such legislation generally moves through each chambers' Budget committees.
But that doesn't mean the "cardinals" couldn't take the lead this time, he added.
"I guess anything could be raised and dealt with in appropriations," Shelby told CongressWatch. "So you wouldn't rule it out."