Capital Thinking Blog

 
04.07.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

House Will Take Up FY 2015 Budget Resolution

Confident they have a sufficient number of Republican votes, House leaders will bring Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) FY 2015 Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 96) to a floor vote this week.

The resolution maintains the $1.014 trillion FY 2015 discretionary spending cap established in the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 113-67). Chairman Ryan also keeps the separate caps set for defense ($521 billion) and non-defense ($492 billion) programs in FY 2015, but proposes a subsequent shift of approximately $50 billion per year from domestic to defense spending. The resolution also provides $5.1 trillion in federal spending reductions over the next 10 years, achieved through a variety of strategies previously proposed by Republicans: the repeal of Obamacare; the elimination of the Social Services Block Grant; the conversion of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) into block grants; and the future transition of Medicare into a voucher program.

The House will also take up two additional budget-related bills this week: the Baseline Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 1871) which would eliminate the baseline assumption of annual inflationary adjustments for discretionary spending; and the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 (H.R. 1872) which would account for the costs of market risks in federal credit programs. On Friday, the House passed the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1874) which would require dynamic scoring for major legislation.

It is very unlikely the Senate will consider any of these bills.

Appropriators Strive For Regular Order

The House Appropriations Committee will take up its first two FY 2015 spending bills this week, working under Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) timeline of passing all 12 appropriations bills out of the committee before the July Fourth recess. The committee will take up the least controversial measures, the Legislative Branch and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bills on Wednesday.   

House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will also continue FY 2015 Budget hearings this week.

This week’s hearings

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, April 8: The State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for USAID.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Legislative Branch Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget requests for the Architect of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Open World Leadership Center.
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Interior-Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Labor.
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for Defense Health Programs.
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget requests for the Navy and Air Force.
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Energy and Water Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Energy.
  • Thursday, April 10: The Commerce, Justice Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget bequest for the Department of Commerce.

House Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Monday, April 7: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for NASA.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Agriculture Field Agencies.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED hearing on the budget request for the United States Africa Command.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Energy and Water Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Energy (Environmental Management).
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Education.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED hearing on the budget request for cybersecurity.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for USAID.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED MEMBERS ONLY hearing on the budget request for the United States Special Forces Command.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the General Services Administration (GSA).
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Commerce.
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • Thursday, April 10: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Bureau of Prisons.
  • Thursday, April 10: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED MEMBERS ONLY hearing on the budget request for the Intelligence Community.
  • Thursday, April 10: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
03.31.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

House Will Take Up FY 2015 Budget Resolution

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to release his FY 2015 Budget Resolution this week, with a tentative committee markup planned for Wednesday.

Chairman Ryan is expected to outline an even more conservative fiscal approach than he did for FY 2014, including an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction necessary to balance the budget over the next 10 years. He will likely again propose the partial privatization of Medicare; a conversion of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) into block grants; a repeal of the healthcare law; and deep discretionary spending cuts beyond FY 2015. We anticipate Chairman Ryan will adhere to the $1.014 trillion discretionary spending cap established in the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 113-67), and, despite increasing pressure to increase defense spending, will maintain the separate caps set for defense ($521 billion) and non-defense ($492 billion) programs. While the topline spending cap will make it difficult to earn the support of many of the 62 Republicans who voted against the budget agreement, the Chairman is hopeful the conservative fiscal approach going forward will sway some of those votes in order to secure the 217 required for passage.

With the discretionary cap for FY 2015 established in the budget agreement, the House budget resolution will primarily serve as a statement of the Republican framework for the upcoming elections. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is planning for a floor vote on the resolution next week.

Anticipated Appropriations Markups and Floor Time

The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees are expected to mark up their spending bills this week. Full committee consideration will follow shortly thereafter during a meeting in which Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) is also expected to announce the 302(b) allocations, or topline numbers, for each of the appropriations bills.

Following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) statement that he plans to set aside two weeks of floor time in June and two weeks in July for appropriations bills, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced she is planning an aggressive hearing schedule. She intends to conduct a full committee markup of the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill on May 22, in order to bring it to the floor after the Memorial Day recess.

While the bills first up for consideration are typically the least controversial spending bills, we expect the FY 2015 appropriations markups to highlight party differences that had been tempered by the congeniality of the December budget agreement and FY 2014 omnibus. Denied the opportunity in the omnibus, Members will push for policy priorities during the FY 2015 process, a strategy already evidenced by the pointed and sometimes contentious questioning – by Democrats and Republicans – of Administration officials during the budget hearings.

The Appropriations Committees will continue FY 2015 Budget hearings this week.

This Week’s Hearings

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Wednesday, April 2: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Air Force.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the National Institutes of Health.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Energy and Water Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Interior.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Defense and the Army.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Food and Drug Administration.

House Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, April 1: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Interior Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the United States Forest Service.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Drug Enforcement Administration and State of Research on Drug Abuse in America.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Energy.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of the Treasury.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • Wednesday April 2: The Labor, HHS and Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Labor.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the United Nations and International Organizations.
  • Wednesday, April 2: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Defense Health Program.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Interior and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the National Park Service.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for USDA Food Safety.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED hearing on the Budget Request for the Missile Defense Agency.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Small Business Administration.
  • Thursday, April 3: Energy and Water Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Energy (National Nuclear Security Administration).
  • Thursday, April 3: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.
  • Thursday, April 3: The Interior Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Friday, April 4: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Justice.
  • Friday, April 4: The Interior Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Friday, April 4: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for USDA Rural Development.
  • Friday, April 4: The Interior Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
03.24.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Appropriations Work Continues

The Senate and House Appropriations Committees will resume FY 2015 Budget hearings in full force when they return from recess this week.

This week’s hearings

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, March 25: The Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Legislative Branch Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Capitol Police, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Secretary of the Senate.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of the Navy.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Agriculture.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Interior and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of the Interior.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED hearing on the Budget Request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

House Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Monday, March 24: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • Monday, March 24: The Legislative Branch Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Capitol Police.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Energy (Applied Energy Funding).
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Transportation Security Administration.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Agriculture (Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services).
  • Tuesday, March 25: The State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Treasury, International Programs.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Interior and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of the Interior.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Energy (Science).
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Agriculture (Research, Education, and Economics).
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the United States Air Force.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Judiciary.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the National Science Foundation.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the U.S. Army.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Interior and Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Agriculture Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
03.10.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Appropriations Work Begins

Following last week’s submission by President Obama of his FY 2015 Budget Proposal to Congress, appropriators are set to begin work in earnest on the FY 2015 spending bills. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) previously stated that her committee would not take up a budget resolution for FY 2015, deeming it unnecessary because the budget deal (P.L. 113-67) approved by Congress in December established a $1.014 trillion discretionary spending limit for the fiscal year. It remains unclear whether House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will propose an FY 2015 budget resolution. While he would like to set conservative fiscal parameters for the next decade, securing votes for the measure may be difficult. Conservative Republicans, many of which did not vote for the budget deal, will not approve of a budget resolution that adheres to the $1.014 trillion spending cap. Likewise, Democrats will not approve of the entitlement reforms the Chairman is likely to include in his proposal.

This Week’s Hearings

  • Wednesday, March 12: The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s FY 2015 Revenue and Economic Policy Proposals. Witness: Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew.

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, March 11: The Legislative Branch Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office. Witnesses: Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office and Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office.
  • Wednesday, March 12: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Defense Health Programs. Witnesses: Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Chris Miller, Program Executive Officer for Defense Healthcare Management System.
  • Wednesday, March 12: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security. Witness: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
  • Thursday, March 13: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Transportation. Witness: Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
  • Thursday, March 13: The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of State and Foreign Operations. Witness: Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

House Appropriations Committee FY 2015 Budget Hearings

  • Tuesday, March 11: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security. Witness: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
  • Wednesday, March 12: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the United States Coast Guard. Witness: Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant, United States Coast Guard
  • Wednesday, March 12: The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of State. Witness: Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
  • Wednesday, March 12: The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for Installations, Environment, Energy and BRAC. Witnesses: John Conger, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, Defense for Installations and Environment; Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary, Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment; Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary, Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; Kathleen I. Ferguson, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, performing duties as Assistant Secretary, Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics.
  • Wednesday, March 12: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Transportation. Witness: Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
  • Thursday, March 13: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Defense. Witnesses: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; General Martin Dempsey, USA Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff;  and Robert Hale, Undersecretary of Defense, Comptroller.
  • Thursday, March 13: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Witnesses: Daniel Ragsdale, Deputy Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; James Dinkins, Executive Associate Director, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Thomas Homan, Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • Thursday, March 13: The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Health and Human Services. Witness: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
  • Thursday, March 13: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Witness: Secretary of Housing Shaun Donovan.
  • Friday, March 14: The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Budget Request for the Department of Agriculture. Witness: Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack; Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist, Department of Agriculture; and Michael Young, Budget Officer, Department of Agriculture.
avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
02.24.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

House Tax Overhaul

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has told GOP panel members he will release a “comprehensive discussion draft” this week of a tax code rewrite. While getting a major change in tax law this year is widely considered to be a long shot, this marks a turning point in the discussion. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has taken over the Senate Finance Committee Chairmanship after Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) left the Senate to become the United States Ambassador to China. Therefore, it is unclear how the Senate will respond to Chairman Camp’s tax code rewrite, given Sen. Wyden’s intentions to focus on renewing tax extenders before turning to long term tax reform.

Other Activity

Next Tuesday, March 4, President Obama will be releasing the top-line numbers for his budget request for FY 2015. The budget appendix and further detail, including justifications, are scheduled for release the following week. The budget is poised to include requests focusing on domestic priorities such as job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed to bolster the middle class. It is was announced last week that the President had dropped a plan to reduce future spending on Social Security in his budget, but he would still remain open to congressional Republicans and Democrats returning to a so-called grand bargain. Additionally, the White House has expressed a sustained commitment to the $1.014 trillion top-line spending level set under the House-Senate budget agreement (PL 113-67).

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, February 25: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled “Economic Outlook for Individuals, Families and Communities.”
  • Thursday, February 27: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services will hold a hearing titled “Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise.”
avatar
Samantha Martin
avatar
Victoria Cram focuses her practice on public policy and government affairs. Ms. Cram has more than 25 years of experience in government affairs and public relations consulting specializing in domestic, urban, and tax policy for private and public sector clients.
02.10.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Debt Ceiling

According to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Congress has approximately three weeks – until February 27 – to extend the nation’s debt ceiling (the current suspension expired on Friday; however, the Department of Treasury is able to extend the deadline using “extraordinary measures”).

House Republicans are still considering options for add-ons to the debt ceiling increase, but are reportedly close to introducing a relatively “clean” bill that extends the debt limit for one year. With both chambers in recess the week of February 17 for the Presidents’ Day holiday, the House may act on legislation this week.

This Week’s Hearings

  • Tuesday, February 11: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook for Fiscal Years 2014-2024, with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf testifying.
  • Tuesday, February 11: The House Budget Committee will mark up two pieces of budget reform legislation: the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 (H.R. 1872) and the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act of 2014 (H.R. 1869).
avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
02.03.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Debt Ceiling

The suspension of the nation’s debt ceiling authorized by the FY 2014 Continuing Resolution (P.L. 113-46) will expire on Friday; however, the Department of Treasury predicts it will be able to extend the deadline through the end of February using accounting techniques knows as “extraordinary measures”.

The debt ceiling increase was a primary topic of discussion during the House Republican retreat last week and party leaders may introduce legislation this week. While the President and Congressional Democrats hold the position that any debt ceiling increase should be “clean”, House Republicans are considering several options to incorporate into the legislation: a balanced budget amendment; Keystone XL pipeline construction; and repeal of individual healthcare reform provisions.

Congressional Budget Office Economic and Budget Outlook

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its annual Economic and Budget Outlook. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf will testify on the report before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, as noted below.

This Week’s Hearings

  • Tuesday, February 4: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The 2014 Outlook: Moving from Constant Crises to Broad-Based Growth.”
  • Wednesday, February 5: The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook.”

 

avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
01.27.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Debt Ceiling

The FY 2014 Continuing Resolution enacted in October (P.L. 113-46) suspended the debt ceiling through February 7. While this deadline can typically be extended for a length of time through accounting techniques known as “extraordinary measures”, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is urging Congress to address an increase in the debt ceiling sooner rather than later, as he predicts these measures will only stave off default through the end of February.

The President and Congressional Democrats are holding firm to their non-negotiating position with regard to the debt limit and are pushing for a ‘clean’ increase, whereas House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he and his caucus would not support a debt limit increase without a corresponding level of deficit reduction. The issue will be at the forefront of discussion during the House Republican Caucus retreat this week.

OTHER ACTIVITY

President’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal Expected on March 4

The President is scheduled to send his FY 2015 Budget Proposal to Congress on March 4. The President will outline his priorities in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, but is expected to again prioritize funding for jobs, workforce development, education, and infrastructure initiatives. It is unclear whether the budget request will adhere to the $1.014 trillion FY 2015 discretionary spending cap established in the recent budget agreement (P.L. 113-67).

avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
01.13.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Omnibus On Track For Votes This Week

Appropriations leaders intend to introduce their $1.012 trillion FY 2014 appropriations omnibus bill today after working through the weekend in an effort to resolve the final policy differences in the Labor-HHS-Education, Financial Services, and Interior-Environment bills.

The bill is expected to be sent to the President for signature before Congress begins its weeklong recess, but with the current FY 2014 Continuing Resolution (CR/P.L. 113-46) expiring on Wednesday, January 15, another short term CR must be addressed first. As such, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced a proposal last week to extend government funding at current levels through Saturday, January 18. The House is expected to take up the stopgap measure under suspension of the rules on Tuesday before turning its attention to the omnibus.

OTHER ACTIVITY

President’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal Will Be Delayed

Citing the delay in Congressional FY 2014 budget action, Administration officials are saying the President’s FY 2015 Budget Proposal will not be sent to Congress until late February or possibly March. While the president is statutorily required to send his budget to Congress by the first Monday in February, there is no penalty for a late request. A late budget request is not uncommon, in fact, the FY 2014 Budget Proposal was not released until April 2013.

avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.
01.06.2014

Budget and Appropriations

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

Appropriators Ready Omnibus For Action

Closely guarding any progress, House and Senate Appropriations staff worked over the holiday recess to reconcile their respective versions of FY 2014 spending bills in order to incorporate them into a comprehensive omnibus package. Early this week, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) will meet in an effort to work through any remaining funding or policy issues.

Prior to the collapse of the FY 2014 appropriations process and the 17-day government shutdown, the House approved four of its spending bills – Defense, Energy & Water, Homeland Security and Military Construction. All remaining bills, with the exception of Interior & Environment and Labor-HHS-Education, were approved by the full Appropriations Committee. Not a single FY 2014 spending bill was brought to the Senate floor, although all but Interior & Environment were approved by the Appropriations Committee.

Appropriators are optimistic they can resolve the funding differences between the House and Senate versions of most of the spending bills and indeed, Chairs Mikulski and Rogers agreed to limit policy riders in the omnibus. However, the three most contentious bills – and those with the largest funding gap between the House and Senate versions – may present obstacles too difficult to overcome: funding for healthcare reform in the Labor-HHS-Education bill; funding for Dodd-Frank regulations in the Financial Services bill, and environmental policy riders in the Interior and Environment bill. Hence, these bills are the most likely candidates to be covered through a continuing resolution as opposed to a full budget. 

In order to enact legislation prior to the January 15 expiration of the current FY 2014 Continuing Resolution (P.L. 113-46), Congressional leaders would like to bring the omnibus to the House floor later this week, with a possible vote on Friday, to enable the Senate can take up the bill on January 13. It is expected that the bill will be brought up under a procedure which will limit, if not altogether prevent, the introduction of amendments.

avatar
Ms. Welsh assists clients with the research, development and implementation of legislative strategy in a variety of policy areas.