Budget Conferees Begin Negotiations

Hill Updates

CongressOn October 30, 2013, the conference committee working on a Budget Resolution to outline federal spending for fiscal year (FY) 2014 held its first meeting to begin negotiations. During the meeting, Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) noted that the committee will need to find other areas to cut spending that would reduce the deficit while at the same time allow for the repeal of sequestration.

Members of both parties brought up the issue of taxes, with Democrats emphasizing the need to close loopholes in the tax code and Republicans arguing that closing the loopholes would constitute raising taxes, pointing to the new revenues raised over the past decade.

The conference committee’s self-imposed deadline to craft the Budget Resolution is Friday, December 13, 2013 . However, House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) suggested the conference committee should agree to the topline number by November 22, 2013 or December 2, 2013 at the latest. That would allow the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to conclude work on FY 2014 spending bills prior to the holidays. The Chairs also asked the conference committee to determine an overall discretionary spending number for FY 2015, so that the House and Senate can work with the same number throughout the appropriations process.

Expiring SNAP Benefits
House Democrats Hold Press Conference

On October 29, 2013, House Democrats held a press conference on the expiration of certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, advocating extending SNAP benefits rather than cutting them. Due to last Friday’s expiration of the temporary boost provided for these benefits in the Recovery Act, SNAP funding faces an approximately $5 million reduction in FY 2014.

Veterans Affairs Leaders Hold Press Conference to
Extend Advance Appropriations

On October 30, 2013, House and Senate leaders held a press conference to call for congressional approval of legislation to extend advance appropriations to all Department of Veterans Affairs programs. Participants emphasized the bipartisan commitment to providing for our nation’s veterans.

Click here for more information about the press conference including a video.