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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Spending Panel Approves Subcommittee Allocations

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The Senate Appropriations Committee April 14 approved by a 29-1 roll call vote the fiscal year (FY) allocations for its 12 individual subcommittees. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) cast the only “no” vote. The FY 2017 allocations are consistent with the top line spending cap of $1.07 trillion approved in the 2015 Balanced Budget Act (P.L. 114-74).

    The committee allocated $161.9 billion for the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee, a decrease of $270 million from the FY 2016 enacted level.

    A press release from the committee states “the FY2017 subcommittee allocations do not assume any of the more than $50 billion in mandatory spending that the President proposed to skirt statutory budget caps. Many of these new spending proposals are outside the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee and would supplement or supplant discretionary appropriations with new mandatory funding streams that are offset in the President’s budget with new taxes, fees, or other savings that have limited or no support in the Congress.”

    The president’s budget released in February proposed to reduce discretionary funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1 billion while requesting $1.8 billion in new mandatory funding [see Washington Highlights, Feb 12].

    Senator Barbara Mikulski (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the full committee, said, “The allocations are fair, but they are not generous.  The next Congress will need to address the consequences of sequester-level funding in fiscal year 2018 and beyond.  We must make public investments to rebuild America’s infrastructure of ports, roads and bridges; create jobs and opportunity in research, education and health; and address real national security threats to our country at home and abroad.”

    The House Appropriations Committee, which has been approving individual allocations as subcommittees consider their respective bills, is scheduled to consider interim subcommittee allocations on April 19.