Federal Relations

June 23, 2010

House and Senate Likely to Bypass Formal Budget Resolution

Leaders in the House and Senate have apparently decided to forgo the development and passage of a typical 5-year budget resolution and will instead set a one-year spending plan. The plan will provide caps for discretionary spending in the 12 appropriations bills that fund federal government operations. According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the proposed spending caps will require reductions below the budget figures recommended by President Obama in February.  Further, the House plan calls for the 12 appropriations sub-committees to find efficiencies through the elimination of unnecessary programs within their jurisdiction.

In the House, it is expected that the spending caps will move alongside an FY10 supplemental spending bill prior to the July 4th congressional recess. The Senate timeline for approving the spending caps is less clear at this time, though budget chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) has expressed tentative support for the concept.

The long expected decision will likely clear the way for consideration of the individual FY11 spending bills, as it gives the various sub-committees top-line allocations to work with. Although some appropriations bills may advance in July, it remains highly likely that most will be rolled into an omnibus appropriations package after the November election.