The Senate and House have approved and sent to the White House for signature legislation (HR 933) which will fund federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 (through September 30, 2013), thus averting a possible government shutdown. Funding for most programs will be at FY 2012 levels minus a five percent across-the-board reduction that will be imposed over the last six months of the fiscal year.
The current short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) was set to expire March 27. The House had approved a CR to which the Senate made changes, approving it on March 20. On March 21 the House accepted the Senate’s version, clearing it for the President’s signature. A key element in getting the two houses to agree was that they adhered to the discretionary cap level for FY 2013 set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and also allowed the sequestration of FY 2013 funds to proceed.
HR 933 provides detailed funding levels for a number of agencies that Congress agreed should not operate strictly on FY 2012 levels – Defense; Military Construction-Veterans Administration; Agriculture; Commerce-Justice-Science; and Homeland Security. The other appropriations bills, including Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, will operate most programs at their FY 2012 levels minus sequestration.
The bill added funding to the Indian Health Service budget in order to provide $53 million for staffing of new health care facilities. It also reduced funding in some cases – eliminating $17 million for Bureau of Indian Education replacement school construction. An amendment by Senator Franken (D-MN) to reinstate this money did not receive a vote. Congress added $4.8 million to the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program and authorized a fee increase in order to keep the program running for the remainder of the fiscal year. The final bill also increased funding for transportation over the amount originally approved by the House.
Each agency is to submit a detailed report to the Appropriations Committees within 30 days of enactment regarding their operating plan for fiscal year 2013.
We will report in more detail on the Continuing Resolution. In the meantime, let us know if we may provide additional information.