March 19, 2012
Budget: With the House in recess last week, work continued behind the scenes to draft the FY 2013 budget resolution which is expected to be marked up this week. This budget resolution is likely to propose deeper spending cuts in an effort to balance the budget more quickly. Conservatives have been pushing to get the discretionary limit down to $931 billion, more than $100 billion below the $1.047 trillion discretionary spending cap in the Budget Control Act (PL 112-25). The resolution may also include provisions aimed at limiting the impact of sequestration, the automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in January of 2013 that would result in just under $100 billion in defense and non-defense discretionary spending reductions. Any effort to address sequestration through this budget resolution or subsequent legislation will likely come down to a tug-of-war between protection of defense spending vs. protection of entitlements.
Appropriations: Appropriators in both chambers will hear from a series of Cabinet officials and agency leaders throughout the week, continuing a busy schedule of hearings that have touched on the administration’s FY 2013 budget request as well as its policies. Among the officials set to testify before Appropriations subcommittees this week are U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr., Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.