House and Senate Move Forward with FY 2014 Appropriations

While much of Congress’ attention in the first few weeks of the post-Memorial Day kick off of the summer session has been focused on immigration and federal student loans, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are moving forward with their respective appropriations bills to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, which begins October 1.

The House and Senate have taken vastly different approaches in setting spending limits for the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2014. The House has assumed that federal funding will once again be cut by the automatic, across the board spending cuts known as sequestration, while the Senate is drafting spending bills assuming the sequester will be replaced or repealed.

House

The House Appropriations Committee, which set its spending target at $967 billion for the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2014, began marking up legislation earlier this month. During the week of June 10, the Committee approved both the Defense and Agriculture appropriations bills: 

The House Appropriations Committee has yet to make plans to take up the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, Committee leadership has recommended that the Labor-HHS-Education bill receive a $28 billion cut, meaning funding for health and research programs, like those administered by the NIH, may be reduced.

The House approach would be particularly devastating to most government programs outside of Defense, resulting in significant and sustained funding reductions that limit the capacity of many initiatives, including those most important to the Parkinson’s community.

Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee began its work this week and announced that it will set total spending for its version of the appropriations bills at $1.058 trillion. The Committee plans to approve individual bills throughout late June and July, with most programs likely to see at least modest increases in funding over current levels.

What’s Next?

The House and Senate both intend to hold votes on their respective appropriations bills, but with the two chambers $91 billion apart, it is unlikely that they will come together to reconcile all 12 bills before FY 2014 begins October 1.  Most experts do not believe that an agreement on FY 2014 spending will be reached until later this fall when Congress is expected to debate again on raising the federal debt limit, meaning that the budget picture will likely remain cloudy throughout the summer.

PAN continues to advocate to Congress the importance of protecting funding for biomedical research and its impact on the Parkinson’s community.

  
Date originally posted: June 21, 2013