RSVP Budget and Appropriations Update:
Weather in Washington is weird. One part of the Congress is overheated and the other is frozen. This week the temperature in Washington will break 90 degrees. It is probably twice that hot on Capitol Hill where the Senate Intelligence Committee grilled former FBI Director James Comey. Appropriations Update In the aggregate, non-defense domestic discretionary appropriations for FY18 are capped at $3 billion below the FY 17 level. In addition, Veterans health care has already been funded with at least $3 billion in FY 18 funds. Combined with other, more arcane, budget changes the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate begin their deliberations at least $8 billion below the FY 17 level. Other estimates run almost twice that high. This means that before the Committees make any policy decisions they are in a significant budget hole. Relief can only come if Congress raises the budget caps on non-defense spending. Otherwise, any breaching of the caps will provoke the sequester. The Appropriations process is behind schedule. The President’s budget was late and there is no Congressional Budget Resolution to tell the Committees how to proceed. The Committees still are hearing testimony on Departmental and Agency budget proposals from Administration witnesses. The Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee hopes to mark up its bill in July, although the date could slip until September. A Continuing resolution (CR) of some length is virtually inevitable. Staff cautions that a CR does not mean that funding for every program is extended and then trimmed by some percentage to stay under the budget caps. Rather, the CR can have relative winners – programs that receive funding increases – and relative losers – programs that are cut to help provide increases for the winners. We have no indication yet of how, and when, the House plans to proceed. Remember that any Appropriations bill will require bi-partisan support to pass because there will always be some number of Representatives or Senators who will vote against virtually bill because it spends too much or doesn’t spend enough. Also, the debt ceiling will be exceeded at some point and will need to be increased to keep the government open. Congress seems to have little interest in shutting the government. In may, however, President Trump tweeted that unless more Republicans are elected to the Senate or the Senate changes it rules the country "needs a good 'shutdown' in September" to fix a "mess." There are two basic scenarios, although each has permutations. In one, as happened some years ago, the Subcommittees mark up their bills under current constraints and the results are so unpopular that no bill can pass. Democrats and Republicans agree to raise the budget caps for defense spending and non-defense spending and the bills are rewritten with more palatable results. In a second, there is no agreement and there is a Continuing Resolution, which remains at, or under, the FY18 budget caps. All programs suffer, but few experience the cuts or eliminations in the Trump budget. It is impossible to predict which of these is more likely. As one staff person said, “We are still searching for a way forward.” We are likely to be discussing budget and appropriations issues into the fall. Personnel Deborah Cox Rousch from Florida has been named head of Senior Corps. From the Tam,pa Bay Business Journal Deborah Cox Roush is the Owner of C&L Creative Solutions of Florida, an advocacy consulting and event Management Company. C&L provides dynamic strategy, organization and management for advocacy issues, political campaigns, and corporate events as well as complete onsite management. Clients include but are not limited to Wizcraft Entertainment, IIFA, RNC, and The Trailblazer Group. C&L has consulted, managed or assisted with events such as NFL Experience, NFL Tailgate, The Kentucky Derby, International Indian Film Academy, Three Super Bowls, The Atlanta Olympic Games, and NASCAR as well as coordinating and implementing the ground game for many political campaigns and events. She is actively involved in the Women’s Exchange Founders Board, a member of Working Women of Tampa Bay and many women’s causes throughout our community. She presently serves on the Florida Commission for the Status of Women and recently served as the National State Director and Senior Florida State Director for Job Creators Network, a non-profit organization founded by Co-Founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus. Deborah also serves as Governor’s Appointee to the Republican Party of Florida, Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners Citizens Advisory Council, Board of County Commissioners Charter Review Board, James Madison Institute Tampa Advisory Board, Vice President of With Women We Win and is a member of the Valrico Fishhawk Chamber. Currently, Deborah is engaged and involved in the Women’s Conference of Florida 2016 event coming to Tampa Bay. This inaugural Women’s Conference Florida will provide a platform for professional women from across the state to ask how they can Involve, Inspire and Invest in themselves and the female community at large. In 2013 Deborah served as the Executive Director for IIFA, International Indian Film Academy which brought an immediate 26 million dollar impact to the Tampa Bay economy. She was chair of the IIFA Global Business Forum and worked with Wizcraft Entertainment to bring this global event to Tampa Bay. In 2012 Deborah served as Volunteer Coordinator, Committee on Arrangements, and Operations Team for the Republican National Convention Tampa 2012. She was responsible for the logistics and coordination of over 2800 volunteers. Deborah has her undergraduate degree in Education/History from Georgetown College and a Paralegal degree from Old Dominion College. She has received numerous professional awards, citations, and certificates. Deborah resides in Lithia, Florida with her husband Greg, a retired police officer, and two black labs, Shadow and Shyanne. According to Florida politics she was active in the Trump campaign in Florida.