House Passes FY2014 Budget Deal

House Passes FY2014 Budget Deal

The House passed the Ryan-Murray budget plan today.  It still must pass the Senate and be signed by the President.  President Obama has signaled his support for the measure.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, reached a two-year compromise agreement on the federal budget for FY2014 and FY2015 on Tuesday.   The budget conference committee they chaired was created by the deal that reopened the government after a two-week shutdown in October and had a deadline of December 13 to complete its work. 

Expectations were low that any agreement could be reached, but the two announced it on December 10, several days ahead of schedule, an important milestone since the House is scheduled to adjourn for the year tomorrow.  Tea Party Republicans strongly opposed the agreement because it provides more money than agreed upon in the Budget Control Act of 2011, and some Democrats opposed it because it did not extend unemployment benefits.  But enough Members on both sides of the aisle were willing to vote in favor of the plan (H. J. Res. 59) to ensure its passage on a 332-94 vote.   Of the 94 no votes, 62 were Republican and 32 were Democrats.

Questions remain as to whether the Senate will pass the measure, but this is one step forward.  If adopted by the Senate and signed by the President (who supports it), the agreement would mean budget stability at least for FY2014 and FY2015 without the Damoclean sword of a shutdown hanging over the government.

How much money it would mean for specific agencies like NASA, NOAA and DOD is yet to be determined, but the total amount available for government spending in FY2014 ($1.012 trillion) is about half way between what the House approved in its Budget Resolution ($967 billion) and the Senate’s version ($1.058 billion).

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