Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

106th Congress Scrambles to Complete Funding Bills

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

106th Congress Scrambles to Complete Funding Bills

Article excerpt

After recently voting to approve the Foreign Operations spending measure (H.R. 4811), the House and Senate must now come to consensus on the final two appropriations bills: Labor-HHS-Education (HR. 4577) and Commerce-Justice-State (H.R. 4690). Although votes had been scheduled for both measures by October 27, it was unclear whether remaining policy differences could be resolved before that time.

Ten bills have now been cleared by both the House and Senate, and four of those, including the Transportation bill (see related article, p. 5), have been signed by the President. Another measure, the District of Columbia spending bill, has been completed, and should be ready to be sent to the President soon.

As part of the Foreign Operations measure, Congress agreed to a provision to increase the statutory spending cap for discretionary spending from $542 billion to $637 billion. The new cap is supposed to reserve 90 percent of this year's anticipated budget surplus for debt reduction, but could also further complicate negotiations over the funding levels of the remaining spending bills. The budget resolution earlier this year allowed for $600 billion in discretionary spending.

Disputes in the Commerce-Justice-State bill revolve around immigration issues, a tobacco lawsuit and whether or not to include parts of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) in the final measure. …

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