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FYI Number 120: September 21, 2001

Bipartisan Move to Complete Appropriations Bills

"It is important that we get our regular '02 business completed as early as possible, so we are able to address whatever the potential problems are that are presented to us," declared House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-FL), reflecting a desire on Capitol Hill to quickly finish the FY 2002 appropriations bills.

Following last week's terrorist attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon, attention has turned away from issues that do not directly pertain to the United States' response. With the start of the new fiscal year only ten days away, Congress and the Administration are working to complete the thirteen appropriations bills as expeditiously as possible.

Early next week, Congress will consider a resolution to continue funding the federal government through October 16. The ultimate objective is to complete action on all of the appropriations bills by the end of October, a date for which Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) has expressed his support.

There has been discussion that Congress would continue current funding for many months into the new fiscal year through a continuing resolution. That approach seems to have lost support, as has a move to bundle all of the appropriations bills into a single omnibus measure.

Yesterday, the Democratic and Republican House and Senate appropriations leaders made a proposal to President Bush that sets the total discretionary spending amount. This $686 billion figure is based on the previously passed budget resolution, plus additional amounts for defense, education, and other emergencies. This amount is $7 billion more than what the White House was seeking. The Administration has not yet responded to this offer.

Historically, House and Senate appropriators resolve funding discrepancies by splitting the difference. Information on the budgets tracked by FYI may be found at this AIP site.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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