House work on FY2012 Appropriations bills slows as debt ceiling talks stall

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House work on FY2012 Appropriations bills slows as debt ceiling talks stall

In May, House Appropriations Committee (HAC) chair Harold Rogers issued a markup schedule for the appropriations subcommittees that called for the full committee  to complete action on all bills before the August recess.  He later said the HAC would complete all but one bill.  Now it appears that the HAC will only finish ten bills before the recess. 

The HAC started out like they would meet Rogers’ aggressive schedule.  The HAC cleared three bills (Homeland Security, Military Construction/VA, and Agriculture) before June 1 and reported out another three bills (Defense, Energy and Water, and Financial Services) by July 1.  This week, the HAC finished three more bills (Interior and Environment, Commerce, Justice and Science, and Legislative).  The House has passed four bills (Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction/VA) and is currently considering the Energy and Water bill.

But, committee action on the State/Foreign Operations, Labor/HHS, and the Transportation bills is now in limbo due to the stalled talks on raising the debt ceiling.  What was a clear way ahead for the appropriators has become cloudy, at least for the present.  If the talks produce a short-term agreement, appropriations cuts will be focused on FY2012.  With FY2012 House spending targets already in place, the HAC will have to rearrange its subcommittee allocations to accommodate the deeper cuts that are sure to result form such an agreement.  So, for now at least, the HAC will wait to see what happens

The Senate has proceeded at a much more deliberate pace.  The Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) so far has only completed action on the Military Construction/VA FY2012 Appropriations bill.  That bill is now on the floor, but some Senators question whether they should proceed until a deal is reached on the debt ceiling.  So it appears also that the Senate will wait to see what happens.

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