FY2024 Budget Battles Heating Up Already

FY2024 Budget Battles Heating Up Already

With House Republicans vowing to cut government spending, FY2024 budget battles are heating up already. The budget request hasn’t even been submitted yet, but the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee is asking agencies to outline the impact if their budgets were rolled back to FY2022 levels as some Republicans are proposing. Also, the Aerospace Industries Association sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for DOD, NASA and FAA funding to be protected.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), former Chairwoman and now Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, sent letters to the heads of 23 departments and agencies today requesting an analysis of “what such cuts would mean to services impacting the American public.” She wants answers by February 3.

“On January 10, 2023, House Republican Leadership reportedly unveiled a plan to cap fiscal year 2024 discretionary spending at the fiscal year 2022 enacted level. The details of this policy have not been publicly released—some reports have described the policy as returning defense spending to its 2022 level, other reports have suggested that only nondefense programs would be cut, and it is not clear how this plan would impact the $31 billion increase to Veterans Medical Care that was enacted into law by the 2023 omnibus. With the introduction of this plan as the 2024 appropriations process gets underway, it is incumbent on Members of Congress to understand its potential impacts. As such, I am writing to agency heads across the federal government for an analysis of what such cuts will mean to services impacting the American people.” — Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Recipients include DOD, the Department of Commerce (of which NOAA is part), the Department of Transportation (including the FAA and its Office of Commercial Space Transportation), and NASA.

Eric Fanning, President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association.

Also today, Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning sent a letter to the House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders warning against “arbitrary budget cuts” that could “cause dangerous levels of budget instability” and damage national security and global competitiveness.

“While we commend Members of Congress for the desire to act as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, cutting spending for our national defense and other key agencies like National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does just the opposite. We urge this Congress to thoughtfully consider all aspects of the federal budget and utilize the budget process wisely to enhance America’s security, as well as our global leadership and economic growth.” — Eric Fanning, AIA

Fanning is a former Secretary of the Army and is a member of the NASA Advisory Council.

He argued that Congress must continue its bipartisan support “for strong investments” at DOD and not “send mixed signals about our commitment to national security.” NASA must “maintain our global lead in space research and exploration” and NASA’s aeronautics research is “vital to confronting” challenges from China and other nations in aircraft design. The FAA is in the midst of implementing a congressionally-directed reform of its certification process that requires additional resources.

“You, as our national leaders, must produce a budget that addresses fiscal concerns, while also protecting programs vital to our national security, the safety of our citizens, and U.S. global competitiveness.”

He also urged Congress to avoid a “protracted debt ceiling debate and end its reliance on continuing resolutions and government shutdowns as a means of governing.”

By law, each year’s budget request is supposed to be submitted by the President to Congress on the first Monday in February, though the deadline is often missed. Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio tweeted the other day that DOD has not even received its passback from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) yet, which means finalizing the President’s Budget Request (PBR) is still weeks away.

Executive Branch departments and agencies develop their budget requests and send them to OMB. OMB decides where it agrees or not and sends them back — the passback. The two then negotiate over what will finally end up in the request to Congress. OMB usually has the final word, although agencies can escalate an issue all the way to the Oval Office if they feel it’s important enough.

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