David Reich of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has written a paper explaining why a full year continuing resolution (CR) would be bad for non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding and sequestration relief.
According the CBPP, the paper:
It would lock in the low sequestration levels. A full-year CR would not solve the fundamental problem that the existing appropriations caps are too low to meet national needs. The sequestration relief provided in the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Agreement covered only two years, 2014 and 2015, leaving sequestration’s full effects in place for 2016. The 2016 cap would result in spending on these non-defense programs equaling the lowest level in the last five decades, when measured relative to the size of the economy.
It would not protect non-defense programs from cuts. A full-year continuing resolution, like any other appropriations legislation, would have to comply with the caps. While the 2016 caps are roughly equal to the 2015 enacted levels, various factors would push a full-year CR over the non-defense cap by several billion dollars and require offsetting cuts even if it did nothing but continue last year’s appropriations law.
It would enable higher defense spending and abrogate the parity principle that underlies sequestration and the Budget Control Act. On the defense side, if the full-year CR continued the special appropriations for war-related “Overseas Contingency Operations” at last year’s level, it would be providing considerably more of that funding than the Administration says it needs, with the excess being channeled to the regular defense budget.
The far better alternative is agreement on sequestration relief to raise the caps.
David Reich served 17 years on the House Appropriations Committee before joining CBPP as a Senior Policy Analyst.