Monday, March 4, 2013

Who Are the Federal Agency Sequestration "Winners" and "Losers?" - To Be Determined

Based upon the "no shutdown" rhetoric coming out of last Friday's White House meeting among Congressional leaders and the President, the potential for an end-of-March, Federal government shutdown is practically nil (especially since the President has also told Democratic leaders in the Senate not to threaten a shutdown). The main question remaining, then, is whether the inevitable spending bill, or Continuing Resolution, will replace the sequestration cuts (that went into effect late last week) with some other budget numbers, for what amounts and for which agencies. Some Federal agencies may end up with more money to spend through the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, and some less. Picking the "winners" and "losers" will be the crux of the congressional debate between now and March 27: the last date for any spending legislation before the current spending authority lapses. In reality, since March 22 is the last date that Congress is scheduled to be in session prior to a two-week-long spring recess, the next spending deal will likely be hashed out by then.

Earlier today, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a GOP spending bill to extend the current Continuing Resolution through September 30 for all Federal agencies except those covered by the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs appropriations subcommittees (a copy of the bill can be viewed here as a PDF file). The Defense and Veterans Affairs spending bills were previously drafted, negotiated and agreed upon among House and Senate appropriators last year, and have been included in whole along with the new Continuing Resolution language. Rep. Eric Cantor (in his House Leader’s weekly schedule) has scheduled the new Continuing Resolution and the two agreed-upon appropriations' bills (“Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (Subject to a Rule)”) for consideration by the full House this Wednesday and Thursday.

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