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September 2009: The End (or Beginning) of the Race for the FY 2010 Budget September 2, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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As Washington prepares for Congress to return after Labor Day, the annual federal budget process is coming to a close.  But, as any runner will tell you, there are two races in any marathon: the first 20 miles and the last 6.  Congress may be nearing the end of the FY 2010 budget cycle, but September will resolve what may be wide disparities between the House and Senate, not to mention those between Congress and the President.

This month, authorizers and appropriators will be heavily involved in conferences to settle the differences between the versions of authorization and appropriations bills passed by their respective chambers.  The following chart outlines the current state-of-play of several pieces of legislation that deal directly with national security spending: the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); the Defense Appropriations Bill; and the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill.

Legislation

Sub

Committee

Full Committee

Floor

Bill

Conference

Senate National Defense Authorization Act (S.1390)

X

X

X

X

House National Defense Authorization Act

(H.R.2647)

X

X

X

X

Senate Defense Appropriation

House Defense Appropriation (H.3326)

X

X

X

X

Senate State and Foreign Ops Appropriation (S.1407)

X

X

X

House State and Foreign Ops Appropriation (H.3081)

X

X

X

X

The Senate and the House Armed Service Committees will likely conference as early as possible, as authorization and appropriation measures are (generally) considered in sequence. Both the Senate and the House have passed their versions of the NDAA, and as authorizing bills, these pieces of legislation establish, continue, or modify DOD authorities and programs.  There are real differences between the two bills concerning DOD’s foreign and security assistance programs, outlined in BFAD’s NDAA comparison piece.

On the appropriations side, the House passed its version of the Defense Appropriations bill in July, and the Senate appropriations staffers are working around the clock to ready their legislation for subcommittee and full committee markup in early September. The House and the Senate expect to conference their bills in mid-September.  Defense appropriations measures provide new budget authority for DOD programs, activities, or agencies previously authorized.  This timeframe is especially ambitious because the Defense Appropriations bill will contain, for the first time, funding for both the base budget and overseas contingency operations.  In recent years, supplemental appropriations have been used to provide funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Additionally, the State and Foreign Operations subcommittees will also conference in September.  The House passed its version of the bill in June; the Senate bill is awaiting floor action.  The State and Foreign Ops bill provides new budget authority for the Department of State, its personnel, diplomatic security, USAID operating expenses, and US foreign assistance programs.  This bill is of special importance due to the Obama administration’s commitment of raising the prominence (and funding) for diplomatic and development efforts, including doubling foreign assistance by FY 2015.

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Comments»

1. Paul L. Balaich - October 7, 2009

The Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act is loaded with billions of dollars in ear marks (PORK). Pray tell me how this Congress and Administration can tell the American people they are doing the job that they were sent to Washington to do. We are mirred in debt and the politicians in Washington continue to add without reason to this debt. Hopefully in 2010 the American people will wake up and flip the House and Senate.


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