Court Vacancy Likely to Disrupt Congress Plans to Pass Spending Bills in

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The fierce battle the Obama administration and Senate Republicans are headed for over the nomination of a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could have repercussions for much of the chamber’s legislative business this session, including fiscal 2017 appropriations.Democrats could respond to a decision by Senate leaders to block a vote on a replacement for Scalia by slowing the progress of spending bills, the defense authorization bill, or any other measure or vote, reported CQ Roll Call.Last year, Senate Democrats stopped Republicans from bringing up appropriations bills for a vote in an effort to oppose measures that adhered to the Budget Control Act caps. The maneuver succeeded as congressional Democrats and the administration got a two-year budget deal that raised the caps on defense and non-defense spending by equal amounts.Republicans in both chambers have emphasized their commitment to returning to “regular order” to pass 12 individual spending bills this year, but the unexpected vacancy on the nation’s highest court very likely could upset those plans.“It’s the majority that sets the agenda, but the minority who drives the agenda,” Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said earlier this month. Manchin’s comment acknowledges the reality of the Senate — even though Republicans control the chamber, Democrats can block virtually anything they want from coming to the floor, according to the story. The Senate is governed by unanimous consent, and a single senator can slow almost any business from advancing simply by saying, “I object.”last_img

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