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House FY13 Spending Levels at Odds With Senate

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April 24, 2012

House FY13 Spending Levels at Odds With Senate

By: Mitch

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a measure that caps federal discretionary spending at $1.028 trillion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. It also determined how that amount would be divided among the 12 appropriations bills. The individual FY 2013 spending level, known as a 302(b) allocation, for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education is $150 billion in the House. From this amount, the appropriators will divide up funding for individual programs like Perkins. The $150 billion level is a 4 percent reduction from the current FY 2012 level and is $7.72 billion less than the Senate has already allocated for FY 2013. The Senate is using the higher $1.047 trillion overall discretionary spending level set by the Budget Control Act (BCA).  

The two chambers will ultimately have to find a way to resolve their differences and come to an agreement on a single amount for each appropriations bill. Democrats are accusing the House Republicans of reneging on the deal reached in the BCA. They point to the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted in favor of the Senate appropriations package (along with the majority of the Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee) that follows the BCA spending levels. House Republicans argue that the BCA set the spending “ceiling” and that they have the discretion to cut spending further to help reduce the national debt.  

The White House has already indicated that President Obama will veto any appropriations bills that use the lower spending level. Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients wrote to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) to reaffirm the president’s threat. “Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the president will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,” said Zients. “These funding levels will mean deep and painful cuts in investments America needs to succeed—in education and training, in research and development, and in clean energy and infrastructure.” 

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