Appropriations Watch: FY 2023

Updated 9/30/2022: The House passed a continuing resolution on Friday, Sept. 30, following Senate passage on Thursday, Sept. 29. The President signed the measure later in the day. The CR, which would fund the government through Dec. 16, also provides $12.3 billion for assistance to Ukraine and an additional $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The measure no longer includes provisions related to easing the permitting process for certain energy projects, although the original version of the CR included them. 

Congress began scheduling markups for individual appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 in June. In March, the Biden Administration released its full FY 2023 budget with a base discretionary funding request of $1.582 trillion, 7.4 percent more than the comparable FY 2022 level. Because the statutory caps on discretionary spending expired at the end of FY 2021, lawmakers are not required to appropriate funds within any legal limit.

Congress is supposed to complete a budget resolution to lay out fiscal principles and set an appropriations level by April 15 each year, but lawmakers have not yet adopted one for FY 2023. The House of Representatives instead used a procedure known as "deeming," allowing the Appropriations Committee to begin its work assuming adherence to an overall discretionary spending level known as a 302(a) set by its resolution passed on June 8. The Senate has not yet moved on a deeming resolution, but the Senate Appropriations Committee released its bills at the end of July. Like last year, Senate Republicans have criticized proposed nondefense discretionary spending levels for being too high and defense spending levels for being too low. 

As we did last year, we'll be tracking the bills as they move from committee to the House and Senate floor and onto the President's desk.

The table below shows the status of each appropriations bill. To learn more about the appropriations process, read our Appropriations 101 report. 

Appropriations will be one of several deadlines Congress will face over the coming months. See a list of the upcoming fiscal deadlines here.

Item House Senate
Continuing Resolution Through 12/16/2022 Passed by a 230-201 vote on Sept. 30; signed into law on Sept. 30 Passed by a 72-25 vote on Sept. 29
Budget Resolution Deeming resolution passed by the House on June 8  N/A
302(b) Approved by full committee by a 31-26 vote N/A
Agriculture

Approved by subcommittee on June 15 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 23 by a vote of 31-26
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A
Commerce, Justice, Science

Approved by subcommittee on June 22 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 28 by a vote of 31-24

N/A
Defense  Approved by subcommittee on June 15 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 22 by a vote of 32-26
N/A
Energy and Water Development

Approved by subcommittee on June 21 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 28 by a vote of 32-24
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A
Financial Services and General Government

Approved by subcommittee on June 16 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 24 by a 31-22 vote
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A
Homeland Security Approved by subcommittee on June 16 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 24 by a 32-25 vote
N/A
Interior, Environment

Approved by subcommittee on June 21 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 29 by a 32-24 vote
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A
Labor, HHS, Education

Approved by subcommittee on June 23 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 30 by a vote of 32-24

N/A
Legislative Branch Approved by subcommittee on June 15 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 22 by a vote of 32-26
N/A
Military Construction, VA

Approved by subcommittee on June 15 by voice vote
Full committee markup scheduled for June 23 by a 32-26 vote
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A
State, Foreign Operations

Approved by subcommittee on June 22 by voice vote
 Approved by full committee on June 29 by a 32-24 vote

N/A
Transportation, HUD

Approved by subcommittee on June 23 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 30 by a vote of 32-24
Passed by the House as part of a six-bill minibus on July 20 by a 220-207 vote

N/A

Sources: House Appropriations Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress.gov. All dates are in 2022 unless noted otherwise.

As we explain in Appropriations 101, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approve 302(b) spending levels for each subcommittee after the topline 302(a) levels are determined by the Budget Committees. Below is an excerpt (click here to read the full report).

How does Congress determine the total level of appropriations?

After the President submits the Administration’s budget proposal to Congress, the House and Senate Budget Committees are each directed to report a budget resolution that, if passed by their respective chambers, would then be reconciled in a budget conference (see Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About a Budget Conference).

The resulting budget resolution, which is a concurrent resolution and therefore not signed by the President, includes what is known as a 302(a) allocation that sets a total amount of money for the Appropriations Committees to spend. For example, the conferenced Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget between the House and Senate set the 302(a) limit for that year at $1.017 trillion.

In the absence of a budget resolution, each chamber may enact a deeming resolution that sets the 302(a) allocation for that chamber. Leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees may propose deeming resolutions at whatever level they find necessary to fund discretionary priorities for the fiscal year, but each chamber must pass its own deeming resolution to officially set 302(a) allocations. In the House, this can be done by a simple majority vote, which is how the FY 2023 deeming resolution passed on June 8. However, in the Senate such a resolution does not have privileged consideration, making it vulnerable to filibuster.

The appropriations process for the current fiscal year, FY 2022, marked the first in a decade in which discretionary spending levels were no longer subject to statutory spending caps originally enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The House adopted a deeming resolution for FY 2022 in June 2021, while the Senate filed its 302(a) shortly after the FY 2022 budget resolution was passed in order to facilitate the use of reconciliation. Lawmakers ultimately agreed to an FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill in March 2022 that provided $1.471 trillion in base discretionary spending, an increase of 6.7 percent from comparable FY 2021 levels.

How does Congress allocate appropriations?

Once they receive 302(a) allocations, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees set 302(b) allocations to divide total appropriations among the 12 subcommittees dealing with different parts of the budget. The subcommittees then decide how to distribute funds within their 302(b) allocations. The 302(b) allocations are voted on by the respective Appropriations Committees, but they are not subject to review or vote by the full House or Senate. The table below lists the FY 2022 regular (non-disaster) appropriations along with the House and Senate FY 2023 302(b) allocations. The table will be updated as both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees release their 302(b) allocations.

 

The table below compares actual funding for FY 2022 with the FY 2023 302(b) allocations from the House and Senate.  

Budget Authority Allocations to Appropriations Subcommittees (billions)
Subcommittee FY 22 Enacted Level President's FY 23 Budget House FY 23 Senate FY 23
Agriculture $25.1 N/A $27.2 $27.1
Commerce, Justice, Science $75.8 N/A $85.5 $85.8
Defense $728.5 N/A $761.7 $792.1
Energy and Water Development $52.9 N/A $56.3 $57.5
Financial Services and General Government $25.5 N/A $29.8 $29.5
Homeland Security $57.5 N/A $60.3 $59.9
Interior, Environment $38.0 N/A $44.8 $42.2
Labor, HHS, Education $197.0 N/A $224.4 $216.1
Legislative Branch $5.9 N/A $7.0 ($5.7 House-only spending formally approved) $6.8 ($4.8 Senate-only spending)
Military Construction, VA $127.6 N/A $150.5 $152.0
State, Foreign Operations $56.1 N/A $64.6 $64.6
Transportation, HUD $81.0 N/A $90.9 $89.0
Total $1.471 trillion* $1.582 trillion^ $1.603 trillion^ $1.623 trillion

Sources: House Appropriations Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, CBO estimate of H.R. 2471 (FY 2022 omnibus), Office of Management and Budget.
*In addition to base discretionary appropriations provided in the table, final FY 2022 spending measures also included changes in mandatory spending programs and adjustments for disaster relief, wildfire suppression, and program integrity. Including these amounts, non-emergency discretionary budget authority for FY 2022 totaled $1.512 trillion.
^According to the House Budget Committee, the deeming resolution incorporates certain technical and scorekeeping adjustments to translate the topline appropriations number from the President's budget request into a formal 302(a) allocation. The House deeming resolution provides for $1.603 trillion in regular appropriations for FY 2023 subject to 302(b)s, 9 percent more than the comparable FY 2022 level. The House measure specifies nearly $25 billion in adjustments for disaster relief, wildfire suppression, and program integrity. The President's budget called for base discretionary funding of $1.582 trillion; total discretionary funding would be $1.598 trillion when considering $26 billion in adjustments for special spending categories and excluding $10 billion of programs shifted to mandatory spending.

As Congress considers appropriations bills, it is important that lawmakers avoid budget gimmicks and stick to the discretionary funding limits in current law until and unless they can agree on a fiscally responsible plan to amend the caps.

If you have any questions about terminology or the appropriations process, please see our Appropriations 101 report, and stay tuned to our blog for continuing coverage.