FILIBUSTER SUMMER GETS ITS FIRST TEST. Senate Democrats have vowed to block votes on any spending bills until Republicans agree to begin negotiations to lift sequester-mandated spending limits. Democrats say they don’t support the spending limits or the use of off-the-books war funding to pay for additional spending. Their first chance to prove their muster will come Thursday when the defense appropriations bill hits the Senate floor. But as National Journal’s Fawn Johnson writes, the plan puts Democrats in the strange position of having voted for a defense spending bill that used that same war funding just a day before blocking one Thursday.

“Either way, their message is mixed: They fully support the troops, but they really don’t like how Republicans are supporting the troops with contingency war funds,” she writes. “Democrats overwhelmingly voted with Republicans on Tuesday to proceed to final passage on NDAA. But their support for the defense policy bill didn’t stop them from spending most of the day railing against the measure’s use of contingency funds to meet the president’s budget request.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that President Obama will veto the defense spending bill if it does pass.

BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS VS. REGULAR ORDER. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), along with Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), sent a letter to Republican leaders on Thursday morning to reiterate their request for a budget summit to negotiate an end to the spending limits.

“Members of both parties have long agreed that the automatic and across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration are neither smart, nor an effective means to budget for our national defense and our domestic investment priorities,” the Senate Democratic leaders wrote. “In fact, in a number of speeches you gave on the Senate floor in February of 2013, you called on President Obama and Democrats to work with Republicans on a ‘thoughtful alternative’ to sequestration because the American people expect both parties to work together ‘to get things done with the government we have.’ ” We couldn’t agree more.

The letter was sent ahead of the vote Thursday afternoon.

HOUSE WANTS TO BLOCK NET NEUTRALITY THROUGH APPROPRIATIONS. Another Republican funding bill, another policy rider the White House hates. This time, the targets were the recently implemented Net neutrality rules. The Hill reports that Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee advanced a rider that would strip the open Internet rules when the committee approved annual financial services funding.

“Republicans despise the new rules, which went into effect Friday, and the appropriations bill would stop their implementation until a final court ruling, which could be early next spring,” they report.

The rider and the funding bill were both approved along party lines. The White House is expected to veto the financial services appropriations bill, along with any funding bills that conform to the Republican budget.

DONOVAN BULLISH ON TAX REFORM. White House Office of Management and Budget Chairman Shaun Donovan told attendees at the Wall Street Journal CFO Forum that corporate tax reform still has a chance.

“If done right, he said, a cut will not add to the deficit in the long run, and will actually save money over the first 10 years. He did not specify how this would occur,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The corporate side of the tax code is about the only area of tax policy where Republicans and Democrats can find enough agreement to begin talking about reform. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the same group that he thinks comprehensive reform will have to wait until 2017, when a new president can address the issue.