Despite vast differences between the House and Senate FY2014 budget resolutions, appropriators from both chambers have started to move forward with their FY2014 spending bills. House appropriators this week held two subcommittee markups: the House Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee approved their respective FY2014 bills. Full committee markup of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill will occur on May 21; full committee markup of the Homeland Security appropriations bill will occur on May 22.
The House and the Senate have made no significant progress in settling on a FY2014 budget and currently are roughly $91 billion apart on the overall discretionary level. House conservatives insist they will use a $967 billion top-line spending figure that assumes the sequester remains intact, while the Democratic Senate is siding with the White House and calling for scrapping the sequester and setting spending at $1.059 trillion. Without an agreement, it is unclear how many of the annual bills will move to the floor, and none would go to conference. As has been the case over the past few appropriations cycles, the gap in spending almost guarantees continuing funding resolutions (CRs) will be needed to keep government operating until Congress comes to a broader accord on fiscal issues.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said that she aims to move the FY2014 spending bills through the committee before August recess. Next week, she plans to meet with subcommittee chairmen to discuss spending amounts in each of their respective bills (these are known as 302(b) allocations). Sen. Mikulski plans to hold a full committee vote on 302(b) allocations in June.
NACo will continue to monitor the progress of the budget.