A Deal on Appropriations Is Near

According to POLITICO's Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, lawmakers are nearing a deal that would fund the government for the first six months of FY 2013 (through the end of March). That deal would set the level of discretionary spending at the level specified in the Budget Control Act, $1.047 trillion, in a continuing resolution. Apparently, neither side wants to alter last year's deal until after the election.

On the positive side, at least it will get appropriations out of the way temporarily, and it will avoid a last-minute shutdown-averting deal. Of course, it also means that no appropriations bills will get passed until next year, if at all in 2013. It does not mean much in the aggregate, but it once again means poor budget governance and little prioritizing among discretionary spending.

The budget process clearly needs fixing. The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform issued its recommendations last year about how to improve the budget process so that lawmakers are forced to actually take a look at it annually. It would certainly be a great improvement over the current system.