July 25, 2014

Houses Approves Three Appropriations Bills

Before leaving for this week’s recess, the House made significant progress on the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bills. Last week the House passed the Energy and Water, Homeland Security and Legislative Branch bills. The three bills would fund the budgets of a wide range of agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congressional offices.

Also last week, House subcommittees completed work on the Agriculture, Financial Services-General Government, and Transportation-HUD bills.  

This week the focus will turn to the Senate, where subcommittees are scheduled to consider the Labor-Health and Human Services and Financial Services  bills.  The defense subcommittee is also scheduled to hold a hearing on the Department of Defense budget request. The full Senate has yet to consider any of the FY 2013 bills.

While individual bills continue to move forward on the House floor and in Senate committees, the two chambers have yet to reach final agreement on a single one of the 12 bills necessary to fund the government for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Reaching final agreements that can be signed into law by the President will likely prove difficult because the two chambers are working from different budget allocations that govern discretionary spending.

Senate Democrats and President Obama believe that the bills should comply with the discretionary spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act, though the House approved an allocation that is $19 billion below the BCA. If all 12 bills are not passed by the end of September, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.