After a week-long recess, the House continued last week to make progress on FY 2012 appropriations bills. The second and third bills to clear the House were for Military Construction/ Veterans Affairs and Agriculture.
The House Appropriations Committee completed action on the Defense and Energy/ Water bills and approved revised subcommittee allocations that included an increase in defense spending. Also last week, the subcommittee completed action on the Financial Services/ General Government bill. This week the defense bill is expected to be considered on the House floor.
While the House has been making progress on the bills, House passage is only the first step in what is likely to be a contentious process. Many of the bills include significant domestic program cuts that congressional Democrats and President Obama strongly oppose. Also, the Senate has not approved a budget resolution including the allocation to its Appropriations Committee. With no overall allocation to guide the process, the committee has yet to act on any of the Senate bills.
Also hanging over this year’s process is the possibility that bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Biden could produce an agreement including cuts or budget process proposals that would impact appropriations.