Appropriations Process Still Waiting for Budget Resolution

Appropriations Process Still Waiting for Budget Resolution

The FY2011 appropriaions process is still on hold waiting for the House and Senate to pass an actual budget resolution or a “deeming resolution” instead. The budget resolution sets the amount of funding that each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees is allowed to spend.

As the Memorial Day recess neared, rumors were that the Senate would pass something before the July 4th recess. However, Congress Daily (subscription required) is reporting that Senate Budget Committee chaiman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) no longer is optimistic that it can be accomplished by then. The Senate Budget Committee agreed to a 5-year budget resolution in April, but ran into difficulty getting the bill to the floor because of higher prioirty legislation. The committee-passed resolution would reduce the deficit by 70% by FY2015 according to Congress Daily.

Action in the House has been even slower than in the Senate. Members of the leadership in both chambers now say that they are likely to pass only those appropriations bills associated with national security before the November elections. Those would be the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Military Construction-VA bills. The other nine bills, including the one that funds NASA (Commerce-Justice-Science), would not be passed until sometime thereafter.

Absent action on a CJS bill, Congress could include language in any of the three bills that are expected to pass by November, or in a supplemental appropriations bill, resolving whether NASA must continue to spend funds on the Constellation program as directed in the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Or they may not. The expectation is that Congress and the White House will reach a compromise, but the features of that comproise are anyone’s guess at this point.

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