Budget Talks Progressing Slowly Amid GOP Leadership Vacuum
Only 10 Congressional working days remain between now and the date the U.S. Treasury Department estimates the U.S. will have exhausted its “extraordinary measures” and default on its debt. Originally estimated for November 5, Treasury now says that the U.S. will reach the so-called debt limit by November 3. These developments coupled with the recent surprise withdrawal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as candidate for House Speaker further complicate and likely delay budget negotiations that many hoped would be well underway at this point. Outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may be forced to delay his retirement, originally scheduled for the end of October, until the House GOP can agree on a new candidate and hold leadership elections. Still pending amid this uncertainty are all 12 annual appropriations bills, which are currently funded by a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11; fiscal year (FY) 2016 officially began on October 1. Given the current situation, it is difficult to see how Congress will complete its work on the FY 2016 appropriations bills before the end of the year.