House and Senate Reach Agreement on Spending Levels for FYs 2014 & 2015
Yesterday, the House passed a two-year budget agreement, brokered by Senator Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Ryan (R-WI), who chair the Budget Committees in their respective chambers. This bill sets the spending levels for the federal government for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The bill passed by a wide margin – 332-94, which indicates that the bill is likely to pass the Senate as well. A vote in the Senate has not yet been scheduled, but the chamber is expected to take the measure up in the next week.
Agreement between the House and Senate on the budget is the first step to a successful appropriations process. Assuming the Senate approves the bill, House and Senate Appropriations Chairs will begin dividing up the full amount, setting the spending levels for the various Appropriation subcommittees. Negotiations will then begin on how exactly to spend the allocated funds.
Agreement on the budget is a positive indicator for the coming debate over funding for the reminder of FY 2014. The current continuing resolution funds the government through January 15th. The shutdown earlier this year was due in large part to the House and Senate not coming to agreement on the overall spending levels for 2014. Should the Senate pass the Murray-Ryan budget agreement, the path is cleared to reaching an agreement prior to the January deadline.