Federal Relations

Budget Update

Both the House and Senate are in session this week; just three more weeks of work before they break for the Fourth of July week. This week the House will take up the annual defense authorization bill, while the Senate completes work on its version of the farm bill and considers immigration legislation.

FY14 Appropriations: Last week the House passed its first two FY14 spending bills and should move another two by the end of this month. The House passed the Military Construction-VA and Homeland Security spending bills despite two veto threats, and Senate appropriators are set to mark up funding measures in the coming weeks. But the two chambers are operating off vastly different top-line budget numbers — given that the House and Senate haven’t come close to reaching a budget deal — meaning the measures may not come to the Senate floor and setting the stage for another stopgap spending bill this fall. At this point in the process, it appears that the House wants to pass the defense-related bills up front, leaving the later bills to be rolled up into a continuing resolution (CR) later in the year.

House appropriators are set to move two additional spending bills this week: Defense and Agriculture. House GOP leaders expect the bills on the floor before the July Fourth break. If those bills move through committee and pass the floor as expected, the House will have passed a quarter of its annual spending bills by the Fourth of July. The Senate, meanwhile, may not approve any of their spending bills before the break.

Debt Limit: Republicans continue to demand concessions in the form of deficit-reduction measures in return for increasing the government’s borrowing limit. Discussions are ongoing and there is still time to come to an agreement as the debt limit may not need to be addressed until this fall.