Appropriations Update: Both Sides Moving Separately

Although a bit under the radar, the appropriations process in both the House and Senate is moving forward in a relatively timely manner (OK, maybe the standards are low). Of course, as with the past few years, disputes between the two chambers on a few issues are likely to make the process another grind-it-out affair with solutions only coming at the eleventh hour.

The process might not look so bad if you just looked at the progress in each individual chamber. The House has already passed five of the 12 bills and five others have passed the Appropriations Committee. One other, Interior-Environment, has been released but not acted on and the Labor-HHS-Education bill has not yet been released. The Senate Appropriations Committee has been busy as well, passing nine of the 12 bills, although none of these bills have passed the full Senate yet.

Although the process is moving along, there are many issues that will need to be addressed. There is always the question of policy riders, specifically those related to the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. As with last year, this year's process will have another fight over funding levels, since the House currently has $19 billion less in overall discretionary budget authority than the Senate. The Senate is using the Budget Control Act discretionary caps. Each bill in the House has consistently had lower funding levels than the companion bill in the Senate. Further complicating the matter is the sequester, which may induce some manuevers to try to anticipate or blunt its impact if no resolution can be achieved.

In short, it's business as usual for the appropriations process.

Status of Appropriations Bills
Bill House Status Senate Status
Agriculture Passed by Committee Passed by Committee
Commerce-Justice-Science Passed by House Passed by Committee
Defense Passed by Committee No Action
Energy-Water Passed by House Passed by Committee
Financial Services Passed by Committee Passed by Committee
Homeland Security Passed by House Passed by Committee
Interior-Environment No Action No Action
Labor-HHS-Education No Action Passed by Committee
Legislative Branch Passed by House No Action
Military Construction-VA Passed by House Passed by Committee
State-Foreign Ops Passed by Committee Passed by Committee
Transportation-HUD Passed by Committee Passed by Committee

Source: House and Senate Appropriations Committee websites