Budget duel awaits Congress after recess
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Mar 26, 2013
The Senate passed a budget for the first time in four years in a marathon session that ended in the early morning hours of Saturday March 23. But the real heavy lifting doesn’t start at least until Congress returns from its Easter recess on April 8, and the House of Representatives and the Senate begin the laborious work of trying to reconcile two dramatically different budgets.
The Senate plan would increase spending on technology, transportation, and infrastructure, including building out broadband access in schools and restoring cuts to financing for science research and development made under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The House plan, passed earlier in the week, supports some funding for basic science research, but eliminates loan guarantees and other financing directed at supporting sectors like alternative energy.
The House budget would authorize $966 billion in spending for fiscal year 2014, while the Senate's budget totals more than $1 trillion.
This sharp contrast doesn’t lend itself to obvious compromise. However, both budgets do seek savings from streamlining government operations.
So far, the leaders of the House and the Senate have been mum on when a conference committee will be named to thrash out a compromise plan between the Senate budget and the House version. The Obama administration is expected to produce a budget proposal of its own in the coming weeks, but the next hard deadline in the nation’s ongoing fiscal debate will hit when the Obama administration needs Congress to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority – expected sometime in July.
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.