The debt ceiling compromise has set in motion two parallel legislative processes that might give a determined minority leverage to defund major regulatory initiatives if it could position itself as the swing votes on passage of a deficit reduction law. Measures adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board are most at risk.
This fall, Congress will consider two “must pass” laws. The first measure is a deficit reduction bill, which would seek targeted deficit reductions of $1.2 trillion in order to avoid an equal amount of indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts. The second is an omnibus appropriations bill to fund all federal agencies. The possibilities for vote trading between the two bills will create a complex legislative calculus.