The Senate Appropriations Committee May 21 formally approved spending allocations for its 12 individual subcommittees. The committee adopted the subcommittee allocations, informally known as 302(b)s, by a party-line vote of 16-14.
The fiscal year (FY) 2016 allocations are based on the statutory spending limit of $1.017 trillion mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) and FY 2016 House and Senate budget resolutions (S.Con.Res. 11, H.Con.Res. 27).
The allocations also allow for the appropriation of $96 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) as approved in the FY 2016 budget resolution.
The allocations, proposed by Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), would provide $153.2 billion for the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee, $138 million more than the House allocation approved April 22, but approximately $3.6 billion less than the current fiscal year.
Ranking committee member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) offered an alternative set of 302(b) allocations based on the president’s FY 2016 budget request, which called for increasing discretionary spending by a total of $74 billion above the statutory caps. The committee rejected the substitute amendment on a party-line vote of 14-16.
Senator Mikulski said Democrats will vote against starting Senate floor debate on any spending bill that adheres to the sequester-level limits.
“That is why, although we are moving the process along today, I want to put the Chairman on notice. The President will veto bills at this allocation, and Democrats will vote against motions to proceed to these bills on the Senate floor,” Mikulski warned.
“We need a sequel to Murray-Ryan and we need it sooner rather than later, so we can write realistic bills that keep America safe and invest in our future,” she said, referring to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-67) negotiated by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).