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National Security Spending, Current State of Play September 22, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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In Congress, there are plenty of exceptions, workarounds, and impromptu procedures that challenge the conventional budget and appropriations process.  This year seems to be especially frustrating, mostly due to political maneuvering to delay voting on any divisive issue until after the mid-term elections in November.

The House did not pass a budget resolution for the first time since the creation of the budget committees, leading the Senate to not pass one as well.  The House later passed a deeming resolution setting spending limits while the Senate’s only fixed point is the Appropriations Committee’s spending guidance, which is not binding on the full Senate.

In all likelihood, Congress has shelved passing any legislation until after the November mid-term elections.  To date, the House has passed two of the 12 appropriations bills but has not reported out of committee the remaining 10.  The Senate, on the other hand, has not passed a single appropriations bill but has reported out of committee 11 of the 12 spending bills.  Given the state of play, Congress will have to pass a Continuing Resolution, an unfortunately common occurrence, to maintain federal spending at FY2010 levels.

Budget Insight will continue to track the legislation that determines U.S. national security spending.  Here is the bill breakdown:

FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The House Armed Service Committee passed its NDAA in May (H.R.5136).  The Senate Armed Services Committee concluded its mark up in June and (S.3454) still awaits floor action, as Democrats did not get the 60 votes needed in September to take up the bill.

Foreign Affairs Authorization Act

On the House side, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act FY 2010-2011 (H.R. 2410), introduced in May 2009, passed the House in June 2010 and awaits Senate floor action. In April 2010, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act FY 2010-2011 (S.2971) by voice vote.

Defense Appropriations Bill

In July, the House subcommittee reported out its defense bill (summary table) and awaits the full House appropriations committee.  On the Senate side, the full committee reported out the bill (S.3800) in September and floor action is pending.

State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The House subcommittee markup concluded in June (summary table) and awaits the full House appropriations committee.  The Senate Appropriations Committee reported out their bill in July (S.3676), and floor action is pending.

(Photo Credit: Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law.)

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