On September 14, 2011, House Appropriations Chairman Rogers (R-KY) introduced H.J.Res. 79, a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund federal agencies for the first seven weeks of FY 2012 – October 1 , 2011 through November 18, 2011. It would also provide disaster relief funding. To date, no FY 2012 appropriations bills have been enacted.
Under the terms of the CR, the FY 2012 funding would be provided under the authority and conditions for continuing projects and activities that applied to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (PL 112-10) except that agencies’ budgets will be reduced by 1.503 percent below the FY 2011 enacted levels (Section 101(b)). The 1.5 percent reduction would meet the FY 2012 budget cap of $1.043 trillion enacted as part of the Deficit Control Act (PL 112-25). The more conservative House members argued that the CR should reduce funding even further to meet the larger proposed cut in the House-passed (but not Senate-passed) budget resolution for 2012. House leadership, however, prevailed in arguing that the budget cap that was enacted should prevail.
FY 2012 funds would not be distributed under this short-term CR for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for which funds are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year based on the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for that particular program (Section 109). Section 110 states with regard to distribution of funds during the period covered by the CR: “This joint resolution shall be implemented so that only the most limited funding action of that permitted in the joint resolution shall be taken in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities.”
The bill would provide $3.65 billion for disaster relief, $1 billion of which would be immediately available and thus would be FY 2011 funding. The $1 billion includes $226 million for the Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control efforts and $774 million for Federal Emergency Management Agency programs. A major source of controversy is that $1.5 billion of disaster assistance would be offset by cutting the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Democrats generally do not believe that disaster assistance should be required to be offset and Louisiana Senator Landrieu has indicated that she would block consideration of legislation that offsets disaster assistance. On September 15 the Senate approved a measure (H.J. Res. 66) which would provide $6.9 billion in disaster relief funds, none of which are offset.
The issue of disaster relief funding will need to be reconciled between the two houses as votes on the Continuing Resolution will take place next week. The House and Senate are not scheduled to be in session the week of September 26, thus the CR needs to be enacted prior to that date to avoid a government shutdown.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FY 2012 appropriations developments.