House Republican infighting over the fiscal 2016 budget has threatened to scuttle the entire bill. At issue is deficit hawks refuse to abandon President Obama’s sequestration imposed during the often contentious budget battles of 2011. Brian Torchin knows that the process calls for across the board reductions in the rate of growth with government agencies. Supporters of sequestration have credited the practice for the reductions in the government deficits. At the same time, deficit hawks are eager to see the Department of Defense obtain additional funding to combat the rising threat of ISIS and other national security concerns. Now, the GOP is not opposed to increasing funding for the US military. The problem is that sequestration cannot be arbitrarily suspended for select departments. Democrats oppose any changes to sequestration unless they are allowed to increase funding in other areas of importance to them.
This has led House Speaker John Boehner to invoke a little used practice called the “Queen of the Hill” rule. This rule would allow for votes to be taken on various budget bills with the one gaining the most votes winning passage. The expectation is that the House would be able to pass the proposed budget. At the same time, Boehner is trying to reassure defense hawks that he can secure additional funding for the military by creating a general pool of taxpayer funds. The funds would be used exclusively by the Department of Defense. Democrats are leery of the tactic and regard it as a budgetary gimmick.