Despite a Bipartisan Budget Agreement that was supposed to smooth the appropriations process this year, former Hill staffers on Thursday said the path to the fiscal 2017 budget will be rife with the same roadblocks as previous years, including potential continuing resolutions.

House Republicans—led by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.)—submitted their $1.07 trillion budget proposal earlier this month, which in fiscal 2017 hews to the amounts set by last year’s budget deal. However, fiscal hawks, including the powerful Freedom Caucus, have threatened to vote against the resolution unless lawmakers take out some $30 billion in spending—essentially going back to the levels imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

CAPITOLAn agreement on a budget topline before the April 15 deadline will be “very tough,” said Justin Johnson, the Heritage Foundation’s senior policy analyst for defense budgeting policy and a former military legislative assistant for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

If Republicans can’t pass a resolution, the House and Senate can “deem” budget levels, he said at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation. That entails leadership setting a spending limit for each of the appropriations subcommittees that would not be voted on.

“It’s not ideal” because it doesn’t set up a scenario where the defense topline can be easily increased, as Republican hawks on the House and Senate armed services committees have advocated, he said. “If you can’t get a budget through the House, you’re unlikely to be able to get something through that actually increases defense at the end of the year when they actually sign an authorization and appropriations bill into law.”

In effect, the Freedom Caucus is holding up the budget process over “small-minded” thinking, said Roger Zakheim, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former deputy staff director of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). The $30 billion it wants to carve away from the budget is only a fraction of the more than $1 trillion total in expenses.

“It’s not allowing the business of defense to move forward or frankly to get to the more significant business, if you’re a fiscal hawk, in the form of entitlement reform and areas that are truly, truly driving the deficit,” he said.

Even when a budget topline is set, negotiators will not be out of the woods. Zakheim, Johnson and John Bonsell, vice president for government affairs for SAIC and former minority staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, agreed that a continuing resolution is likely for part of the first few months of fiscal 2017, which starts Oct. 1.

How long the CR lasts will likely depend on the results of the presidential election in November, as well as which party will control the House and Senate after that, said Bonsell. Another issue is whether defense spending is increased through the Overseas Contingency Operations account. HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) has said the current $89 billion for OCO will not likely last throughout the entire fiscal year.

A new president could also play a major role in determining whether to ask for additional OCO funding to finance wartime expenses such as the fight against the Islamic State, said Bonsell, who added there was no guarantee that a president would request more money.

“If it’s Bernie Sanders, do you think we’re going to increase defense?” he asked. “And they have to work with Congress, it’s not just up to the president.”

Zakheim said it was “borderline reckless [and] certainly negligent” for Congress to rely on the next president to make a decision on additional OCO funds.

“That’s not the role of the Congress,” he said.