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Budget and Apporpriations Update

On Wednesday April 10, 2014 the Administration will submit the President’s FY 2014 budget proposal to the Congress.  While criticized for being more than two months late, the Administration budget submission will now reflect the FY 2013 spending totals just passed by the Congress on March 26. As is typical the Administration has already started to preview key portions of its proposal including a $100 billion Brain Initiative and an overall spending plan  that will encompass the entitlement reforms, programs reductions and revenue measures  that the President had offer to House Speaker Boehner in their last “grand bargain” discussions in 2012.

This web site will post highlights of the Administration’s FY 2014 budget proposal in the days ahead.

The Continuing Resolution:
The final continuing resolution (CR) for FY 2013, HR 933 was passed by the House on March 21, 2013 and by the Senate on March 26, 2013. The CR, now Public Law 113-6 was signed by the President on March26, 2013.  The CR provides spending authority through September 30, 2013 and includes 5 of the 12 appropriations bills at conferenced levels. These bills are Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Commence- Justice-State and Agriculture.  All other bills are included in the CR at the FY 2012 levels with certain adjustments for anomalies; additionally all the CR spending was adjusted and reduced for the across the board sequester cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013. The total spending provided for by the CR is $984 billion.

The Budget Resolutions:
For the first time in four years, on March 23, 2013, the Senate passed a Budget Resolution that would reduce the budget deficit by $1.85 trillion over 10 years. It would restore the $85 billion of cuts put in place by the sequester, including $100 billion for jobs and infrastructure initiatives; it proposes to raiser $1 trillion in new revenues over 10 years but add $6 trillion to the national debt over the same period.  After 13 hours of continuous debate the Budget Resolution passed the Senate by 50—49.

Earlier in March the House passed a Budget Resolution that would make sharp reductions to non-defense discretionary spending, increase defense spending, maintain the sequester cuts,  raise no new revenues, be in balance within 10 years but still add $2 trillion to the national debt over the same period. The House passed the resolution by a vote of 221-207.

While the Budget Resolutions are not legally binding they do provide spending ceilings for the Appropriations committee and if a conference agreement is reached a Congressional Budget resolution can include powerful reconciliation instructions with expedited times for debate and simple majorities for passage.  Earlier in the year it had been hoped that the Budget Committees would go to conference and reach a grand bargain compromise.  At the present time a Conference Committee is not expected.

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