Congressional Super Budget Committee Continues to Work on FY2014 Appropriations

Congressional Super Budget Committee Continues to Work on FY2014 Appropriations

Legislative Update
November 22, 2013

As the Budget Conference Committee, which was created in the aftermath of last month’s government shutdown, continues its work to resolve the impasse over FY2014 spending, some members of the committee are developing a “Plan B”. With little signs of progress in resolving the impasse, the committee has until December 13 to make recommendations to Congress. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are developing alternatives in case no agreement can be reached, and while they haven’t released any details of their plan, Ayotte stated that the goal was to insure that the government does not shut down again.

The government is currently funded under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires January 15. If Congress fails to act by that date, another government shutdown could occur. Another possible outcome would be a year-long CR that would, under the sequester law, cut spending to an overall level of $967 billion – $20 billion less than the level specified under the current short-term CR, with the bulk of the additional spending reductions being taken from the Department of Defense.

A group of 35 Senators has sent a letter to the conference committee’s members, asking that any final plan maintains a ‘strong commitment to funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’.

Another letter to the conference committee, signed by House Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rogers (R-KY) and all 12 subcommittee Chairs, asks that the committee reach an agreement on overall spending caps as soon as possible, preferably by December 2 at the latest. The letter states that failure to reach an agreement could mean another government shutdown, or at the least a full-year continuing resolution that incorporates across-the-board spending reductions required by the sequester.

NAEVR sent a letter last week to the members of the conference committee, urging that the committee replace the sequester with balanced approach to deficit reduction that minimizes cuts to the NIH.