The FY 2013 appropriations process got underway this week in the
House and elicited a veto threat from President Obama. House Budget
Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) developed a budget that exceeds
the cuts enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (otherwise known
as the "debt ceiling deal"). The Hill reports that the
White House announced Wednesday that barring a change to the GOP
proposed spending levels, the President will veto their funding
Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has
indicated he does not plan to bring a budget proposal to the Senate
floor for a vote as the spending caps and allocations for the 12
different appropriations measures were predetermined by the Budget
It is expected that House and Senate Appropriations
Subcommittees will begin to consider appropriations bills in short
order. The Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) bill will not
be one of the first to be considered since it is notoriously
controversial due to many competing priorities and limited
The regular order budget and appropriations process first
involves the development – and passage by House and
Senate – of a budget proposal, which outlines overall
spending by broad categories (e.g., defense, health). The
Congressional budget does not require the signature of the
President. Then, the 12 Appropriations Subcommittees in both the
House and Senate receive their particular allocation; from there,
each subcommittee decides specific line-item funding amounts for
the departments, agencies, and programs under their respective
jurisdiction. The bills are marked-up and passed at the
subcommiittee and full committee levels and brought forward for
full House/Senate consideration. Since the chambers typically pass
very different bills, each of the 12 spending measures goes to a
conference committeee where differences are worked out and a
single, uniform measure is developed and then sent back to both the
House and Senate for final passage. Once a spending bill is enacted
by both chambers it is sent to the President for signature or veto.
The annual appropriations process is supposed to be wrapped-up by
September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. However, Congress
typically misses this deadline. Given that this is an election
year, it is expected that most – if not all –
12 appropriations bills will be on the growing list of matters to
be considered during the lame-duck session.
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