During the recent budget and upcoming Appropriations Committee hearing, a question has been floating around the Hill: has the budget process become irrelevant? There is certainly an argument to be made for it. This year’s Presidential budget was received by many as a political document that was never to be taken as a serious proposal that could ever have the chance of going somewhere. As for the Congressional Budget, aside from the fact that there hasn’t been one for some time, it is pretty much accepted that it as well would be dead on arrival. So without budget resolutions, what’s still important to know about the budget process?
To put it simply: a lot, though not necessarily for the reasons that are traditionally associated with the budget process. To illustrate, 2007 was the first time Congress passed a year-long quasi-continuing resolution (aka the ‘Cromibus’) since the 1980s. Because of the way it was written, the Executive Departments decided to exercise some funding latitude on programs based on the proposed Presidential budget. The Department of Indian Affairs, for example, temporarily withheld funding for some programs that had been zeroed out of the President’s budget, claiming Congress had not given orders to the contrary in their budget. Though eventually the funds were paid out, the damage had been done to some programs.
With the constant possibility (especially in an election year) of a Continuing Resolution, this year’s Presidential budget free electronic cigarettes deserves inspection, especially if your programs are part of the more than 200 that have been eliminated or cut. Here are few highlights to be aware of moving forward in the process:
– Health spending was cut across the board, but most notably the Center for Disease Control took a $664m cut, the largest of any discretionary health spending.
– Low Income Home Energy Assistance with HHS was cut by more than $450m.
– Department of Transportation Grants-in-Aid programs received a $926m cut.
– Of the almost $8 billion in total savings, $4 billion is expected to come from cuts to the Defense Department.
– Department of Treasury is expected to have a more than $240m cut, particularly its vehicle procurement.
With the upcoming funding sequestration, important funding decisions are going to be made in the next year and some programs are going to be left without chairs when the music stops. Even if your program saw a positive number in the budget, the programs that didn’t are going to try to get their money from somewhere. Lobbyists.info can get you prepared for the rest of this year and into the next Congress by showing you who is being hired by whom and let you know what you and your clients need to be watching out for. Additionally, register now to learn more about the budget process and practical tips and tricks you can use in the upcoming lobbyist.info audioconference.