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Senate Divvies Up Discretionary Funding Pie for 2013

April 19, 2012

On Thursday, April 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved discretionary spending allocations for the coming 2013 fiscal year.  The size of the total spending pie was completely consistent with the levels set by law in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The agricultural appropriations slice of the pie was set at $23.357  billion, nearly the same as the fiscal year 2012 level.  About $2.5 billion of that total will likely go to the Food and Drug Administration, with most of the balance to USDA.

The decision to stay with the Budget Control Act levels were agreed to without any great debate or rancor, as were the allocations to each of the twelve appropriations subcommittees.  The vote was 27-2, with only Republican freshmen Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rob Johnson of Wisconsin voting in the negative and with Senate Minority Leader  Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the affirmative.

This is in marked contrast with the House, where the Republican leadership has decided to skip past the Budget Control Act and instead cut spending by $19 billion below what the deal they reached in Act and $15 billion below current year levels.  The House-set levels also weight the sub-allocations far more heavily toward military spending than the control act provided.  Those decisions now puts the House and Senate appropriations process on a path to a possible train wreck come the end of September when the current fiscal year comes to a close.

Senate Appropriations Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said today that the level of appropriations instructions approved today are nearly $43 billion less than the total for 2010.   Said Inouye, “By adopting the proposed Committee allocations for this year, in real terms, we will have committed to reducing discretionary funding by 15.5 percent compared to what we appropriated in fiscal year 2010.”

It is not known yet exactly when markup will occur on the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill, but it is expected to happen within the next couple of weeks.  We will alert readers to that event and the resulting spending decisions.

Categories: Budget and Appropriations

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