Congress Nearing Budget Resolution with Continuing Resolutions

CongressClose to midnight on April 8, Congress reached an agreement that would extend government funding through April 15. This latest Continuing Resolution (CR) was passes predicated on the notion the actual full FY2011 budget would be passed within this window of time. The expected FY2011 budget will be voted on by Congress on Thursday, April 14. The budget, as proposed, includes a $38.5 billion cut to the FY2010 enacted spending level.  This CR includes Federal budget cuts totaling $6 billion which were supported by eliminating fiscal year (FY) 2010 earmarks that were extended in the five previous CRs and rescinding $1.74 billion in unused money provided for the 2010 Census.

The House Appropriations Committee has set a goal to cut a total of $100 billion from the FY2010 Budget in the FY2011 Budget.  The FY2011 began October 1, 2010.  The six FY2010 CRs approved by Congress include:

  • Public Law (PL) 112-9: April 9 to April 15, 2011, $2 billion below FY2010 Budget
  • PL 112-6: March 19 to April 8, 2011, $6 billion below FY2010 Budget
  • PL 112-4: March 5 to 18, 2011, $4 billion below FY2010 Budget
  • PL 111-322: December 23, 2010 to March 4, 2011, at FY2010 Budget
  • PL 111-317: December 19 to 22, 2010, at FY2010 Budget
  • PL 111-290: December 4 to 18, 2010, at FY2010 Budget
  • PL 111-242: October 1 to December 3, 2010, at FY2010 Budget

The House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) 1 on February 19th, containing more than $60 billion in cuts. HR 1 failed to pass in the Senate.  Congress continues to negotiate funding bills for both FY2011 and FY2012.  There is vast disagreement in Congress on the approach for the budget cuts and there is current discussion of a federal government shutdown if Congress is not able to reach a consensus by Friday, April 8th.

HR1 called for a $3 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the remaining FY2011 budget while President Obama’s FY2012 budget proposal includes a $1.3 billion cut to EPA from the FY2010 budget while.  President Obama’s budget FY2012 budget includes a $950 million cut to the Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving loan funds.

In January 2010, Congress set the legal debt limit for federal government borrowing at $14.29 trillion.   The US Treasury Department predicts the United States will reach its statutory debt ceiling as early as April 15, 2011.  From 2008 to 2010, the federal deficits added $1 to $1.9 trillion to the national debt annually which has led to Congress borrowing 40 percent of annual budget to fund government operations.  The magnitude of these deficits and resulting impacts on borrowing has lead to much of the ongoing FY2011 and FY2012 federal budget debates.

While the magnitude of the FY2011 and FY2012 budget cuts remain to be seen, the cuts will most likely make federal funding harder to obtain.  AE2S Nexus will continue to monitor this topic and report new developments.