House Passes Budget Framework; Senate to Consider Next Week
From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel
December 13, 2013
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (332-94) to approve a framework that hopefully will prevent another government shutdown while providing some relief from the automatic spending reductions known as sequestration. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to face stronger opposition, for consideration on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Though the bill is not a formal budget for fiscal year 2014, its passage is an important step for Congress because it sets caps on discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion for the current fiscal year. Disagreement over this cap had stalled the budget process, with House Republican leadership calling for the cap to be around $967 billion and Senate Democratic leadership calling for a figure near $1.058 trillion.
In addition to setting a budget cap, the bill provides relief from the sequester that would have reduced federal spending by about $85 billion this year. The legislation calls for a $45-billion reduction in the sequester for FY2014, to be split evenly between domestic discretionary and defense programs. The House’s decision to reduce the sequester for FY2014 is significant because it means there will be less pressure on Congress to slash funding for federal agencies.
Once the budget spending cap is established, members of the House and Senate can negotiate a formal budget for the remainder of FY2014. They must do so before January 15, when funding for the federal government is set to expire. It is during this later process that funding levels for all federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, will be established.
NASAA will continue to monitor these events closely and will report back to you as soon as the Senate has voted on the measure. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 202-531-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.