"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
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