Federal Relations

Busy Week in Congress

Congress has a busy schedule this week before they leave town for their two-week Easter recess. On the agenda are the continuing resolution (CR) and dueling House and Senate budget proposals.

The Senate resumes consideration of the CR to fund the federal government for the rest of FY 2013. With some 90 amendments filed, they may need to vote on cloture in order to move the process forward as the bill will have to go back to the House for final consideration before the end of the week. The current CR expires on March 27th, but both chambers intend to be out on recess starting this Friday.

On the heels of the CR votes, the House and Senate will both take action on their respective budget resolutions for FY 2014. The House is expected to adopt their FY 2014 budget resolution by the end of the week that calls for reducing projected spending as well as cutting the deficit by $5.7 trillion from FY 2014 to FY 2023, when compared with the baseline for future spending and tax receipts projected by the Congressional Budget Office. The savings would come from cuts in domestic programs, repealing the 2010 health care law, and overhauling the tax code.

The Senate plan, on the other hand, would cut the deficit by only $1.8 trillion over 10 years. The Democrats proposal calls for replacing all nine years of the sequester with what they are calling a “balanced” package of tax increases and spending cuts, while sparing entitlement programs.

The two budget proposals are wildly different, so much so that there is little hope that the two chambers will be able to reconcile their differences before launching the FY 2014 appropriations process. This means that the House and Senate may work off of different baseline numbers and assumptions for developing their FY 2014 bills to fund federal government.