On October 4, 2011, the House, by a vote of 352 to 66, approved a FY 2012 Continuing Resolution (HR 2608) that will fund federal agencies through November 18, 2011. The bill now goes to the President for signature. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 79 to 12 on September 26 (see our General Memorandum 11-111 of September 29, 2011). Funding will generally be at FY 2011 levels minus 1.5 percent. During the six weeks between now and November 18 Congress will attempt to finish work on all 12 appropriations bills. They will likely be rolled into one omnibus bill or grouped into several bills.
All appropriations bills have had committee action, although not necessarily in both houses. The House appropriations bills contain many controversial legislative riders which will have to be addressed as the House and Senate appropriators craft the final bill(s). The House Interior bill, for instance, has a number of provisions prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcement activities while the House Labor-HHS-Education bill would prohibit funding for Affordable Care Act (ACA) programs for 90 days after enactment on the grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court may rule the law unconstitutional. It would also rescind over $8 billion from ACA programs.
Simultaneous to the activity on FY 2012 appropriations is the work of the Deficit Reduction Committee (see our General Memorandum 11-094 of August 5, 2011) which is tasked with making recommendations to reduce the deficit over a ten-year period by at least $1.5 trillion. Congressional committees are to have their recommendations to the Deficit Reduction Committee by October 14. The Deficit Reduction Committee is to submit its recommendations to Congress by November 23 and Congress is to vote on those recommendations by December 23, 2011.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FY 2012 or other appropriations matters.