House Appropriators Clear CJS Bill, Hope for Floor Action

House Appropriators Clear CJS Bill, Hope for Floor Action

The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2014 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill, which includes NASA and NOAA, but what will happen to it next is unclear.

The committee is currently considering, and is expected to approve, the Financial Services bill.  As Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) pointed out, by the end of today six appropriations bills will be waiting in line for floor action.  He said he hopes House leadership will find time to bring them up for consideration as the days count down to the beginning of FY2014 on October 1.   Congress will be in recess for much of August.   The House is scheduled to be in session for only 19 more days prior to that deadline.

The defense appropriations bill may reach the floor this week, but the status of the others, including CJS, is up in the air. 

It has been many years since Congress completed action on the 12 regular appropriations bills on time; this year is not likely to be an exception.   Differences between the House and Senate are pronounced, with the House and Senate Budget Resolutions making very different assumptions about spending levels, so even if the House passed all its bills, reaching agreement between the two chambers will be a Herculean feat.  Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) predicted last month that no major budget-related decisions will be made until Congress is forced to act to raise the debt limit, which will not be under the end of the calendar year.

NASA is a good example of the differences.  The House committee approved $16.6 billion for the agency, $1.1 billion less than the $17.7 billion request.   The Senate Appropriations CJS subcommittee approved $18 billion, about $300 million more than the request when it marked up its version of the bill yesterday.  The full Senate committee is scheduled to mark up the bill tomorrow morning.



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