Congress returns from its spring break on Friday, April 9, to concentrate on the FY2011 budget.  The FY2011 Budget Resolution is up first.  The annual budget resolution sets revenue and spending targets for the tax writing and appropriations committees so they can begin work on the president’s budget request.  This is an internal congressional procedure and therefore the passed budget resolution is not sent to the president for approval.  While the budget resolution does not set firm funding levels for DoD or any other agency budget, it does include nonbinding recommendations (e.g., on pay or benefit issues) for consideration by the appropriations committees when they allocate total appropriations among the 12 separate appropriations.  Both the House and Senate should conclude deliberations this month.  After the budget resolution is completed, the House will begin to mark up appropriations bills.  Meanwhile, the House and Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee (HAC-D) will move to complete the DoD’s FY2010 supplemental appropriations request for $33 billion to fund the surge in Afghanistan.  In a hearing before the HAC-D this month, Secretary Gates pressed members to complete action by early spring.  Next month, the House and Senate Defense Authorization Committees hope to complete action and move their bills to the floor before Memorial Day.  Highlights will keep up with congressional action, especially on all defense bills, and will report on progress weekly until the final FY2011 appropriations and authorization bills are passed and signed by the president.