FY 2014 Budget
Last month's Ryan-Murray budget deal set overall spending levels for the government at $1.1 trillion, but it did not set specific spending levels for each agency. On Monday, the Appropriations Committee released an omnibus spending bill detailing how the money is allocated between agencies, along with dozens of specific instructions directing what projects agencies must and must not fund.
Among the many things we noted yesterday on the blog about the omnibus appropriations bill was the similarity between war spending in the bill and in the past fiscal year. Spending for overseas contingency operations declined by only $1 billion -- from $93 billion to $92 billion -- between 2013 and 2014, and spending was more than $20 billion higher than what CBO assumes in its drawdown scenario.
Last night, Congressional appropriators unveiled a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the government for the rest of FY 2014. The announcement comes just in time to avoid a government shutdown after tomorrow; lawmakers are working on a three-day stopgap to buy time to pass the broader package.
On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan announced a budget deal that set discretionary spending levels for the next two years, removed some of sequestration's cuts, imposed targeted spending cuts and fee increases, and modestly reduced deficits over the next decade (see our full analysis of the deal).
So far, reactions to the budget agreement have been mixed. As we said in our report yesterday, Understanding the Bipartisan Budget Act, the deal replaces short-term savings in sequestration with smarter, permanent savings from mandatory savings and user fees, a positive development. But it largely pushes the big decisions down the road.
We hope all of our readers enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. The long weekend brought some fantastic rivalry games, Michigan-Ohio State, Auburn-Alabama, Ravens-Steelers, and many more. Coaches often had to decide whether to punt or to go for it and keep the drive alive. But in Washington, where Congress has had clear opportunities to get our fiscal house in order, a new Fix the Debt infographic shows lawmakers have been doing much more punting than solving.
As the budget conference committee works to develop a plan to offset some of the sequester, they may be tempted to use budget gimmicks in place of hard choices (last week we warned against use of the war gimmick). One such gimmick would be to repeal most or all of the sequester now and pay for it by increasing the sequester later.