Federal Relations

April 16, 2012

This Week in Congress

Congress is back in session today after a two-week break for the Easter holiday.  Appropriators in both chambers will begin moving FY 2013 annual appropriations bills this week.  The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday will start marking up its spending bills for FY 2013 with a goal of cutting federal spending by a little more than one percent, or $15 billion.  Senate appropriators, on the other hand, will begin their markups with a slightly more generous target that would still keep annual discretionary spending relatively flat.  Senate subcommittees begin the process on Tuesday with the Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development measures.  The House Energy-Water subcommittee will meet Wednesday and the Commerce-Justice-Science panel is expected to meet Thursday.  Under House rules, the draft bills will be made public 24 hours in advance of the markups; the Senate does not have a requirement for an early look.

Appropriators have yet to announce plans for writing the massive Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, which is always among the last and most controversial funding measures to move.  The bill faces an additional challenge this year with the pending Supreme Court ruling on health care reform due in June.  House appropriators might wait until after the ruling to move the bill.  Meanwhile in the Senate expects the court will uphold the law and plans to write its spending bill assuming health reform will remain intact.