David Hawkings, senior editor at CQ Roll Call, and Jack Fitzpatrick, congressional reporter at Bloomberg Government, join Francis Rose to discuss the upcoming FY19 appropriations hearings, and why they probably won’t go smoothly.
The first congressional hearings for the fiscal 2019 budget are scheduled for this week. If all goes well, FY19 could be the first normal budget to pass after years of continuing resolutions. However, it’s up to Congress to make that happen, and the 2018 budget battle may have left some scars. “We all thought it was settled and that we could move on. I even wrote a piece saying… now the easy part. They’ve made these hard decisions, they’ve struck a tough bargain, now they just need to sort of do it one more time and they can post and go home and campaign. That’s totally wrong. That’s not going to happen,” said David Hawkings, senior editor at CQ Roll Call. “There’s going to be a lot of arguing about how to revisit the domestic numbers for fiscal ‘18. Whether to just allow the administration to slow walk the spending. Whether to try to force very difficult votes for the Republicans on rolling back some of the spending. It’s a mess as always.” Jack Fitzpatrick, congressional reporter at Bloomberg Government, said that funding the 2020 census may be another wrench in the gears for FY19. “There have been some complaints that it was underfunded as they tried to overhaul how they do the census in a more technologically advanced way, and allow people to respond online, which theoretically should save money. Leading up to this though, they’ve already had to cancel a couple of test runs for the census, amid complaints about not sending enough money towards the Census Bureau,” Fitzpatrick told Government Matters. “Now there’s this question over a citizenship question being added late, which they couldn’t test for… it’s driving concerns that it’s going to lead to lower response rates, and possibly a less accurate census.”