By freezing budgets for domestic agencies, the Republican plan would also deny additional money to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and to build new Coast Guard cutters. GOP initiatives such as more money for the Small Business Administration or fossil fuels research would be hurt as well, but there's little appetite for the alternative, which is to stack more than $1 trillion worth of spending bills together for a single up-or-down vote.
The GOP move to add the line-by-line spending bills for the Pentagon and veterans programs to the catchall spending bill would give the military much-sought increases for force readiness and the VA additional funding for health care.
But that approach has few fans in the White House, which is seeking money to implement Obama's signature efforts to overhaul financial regulation and the nation's health care system, or the Democratic Senate, where veteran members of the Appropriations Committee want to add a stack of bills covering domestic priorities like homeland security, NASA and federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI.
"You need balance," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "We feel as strongly about the domestic side as we do defense."