March 21, 2013
Yesterday, the Senate passed HR 933, a continuing resolution to fund federal government for the remainder of FY 2013. That bill now moves back to the House for final approval, which should take place today before being sent to the President for signature. While the CR does not eliminate sequestration, it does provide some federal agencies with more flexibility as to how they implement their cuts. And some programs will receive extra funds that may reduce the immediate impacts of sequestration. The National Institutes of Health will get an extra $71 million from the Senate bill, only partly offsetting the $1.5 billion cut that must happen in NIH’s estimated $31 billion budget due to sequestration. The National Science Foundation will also get a boost of $221 million to $7.2 billion even as they must cut about $360 million from their budget.
With the final passage of the CR today, this is likely the end of any discussions to eliminate or replace the sequester for this year.
Both the House and Senate will spend most of today focusing on their respective FY 2014 budget resolutions as they try to get those measures approved before they begin their two-week recess period on Friday. The budget resolution provides instructions to the appropriations committees in both chambers as to how much each federal agency will have to spend for the upcoming fiscal year. Appropriators use these guidelines to craft spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year that direct how each agency must use their funds. The House and Senate budget plans will likely establish different overall spending priorities making it difficult for appropriators in both chambers to come to resolution on final bills by September 30th.