The Outlook for 2016
On February 17, 2016, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities hosted a Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) Funding Town Hall. Tiffany Kaszuba with the NDD United Campaign highlighted some of the key messages around the federal appropriations process that came out of the event:
- The funding level for fiscal year (FY) 17 is flat compared to FY16. The Bipartisan Budget Act raised the caps for FY 16 and 17 above the sequestration levels but only enough to ensure that 17 was not a cut from 16. The flat funding is before inflation and is therefore, more like a small cut and will make appropriations even more difficult this year.
- The first battle will be over the 302b allocations. This is the funding level that the full Appropriations Committee in each chamber hands down to the Subcommittees for all of the programs under their jurisdiction. Last time around, the increase in funding in the Bipartisan Budget Act was not distributed proportionately across these allocations. In fact, some bills saw increases that were more than double the average while others received less than half of the average increase.
- With Supreme Court nominations and a Presidential Election, it is very likely that we will end up with at least a short term continuing resolution (CR) that keeps the government running until late November 2016, early December when the election is over.
- The fight for FY18 will be fast and furious. With the BBA of 2015 expiring, there will be a cut in NDD funding of about $15 billion in FY18 unless Congress does something to replace sequestration. With a new administration and new Congress, the fight for FY18 will come fast with the condensed budget process largely as the result of new administration starting in January. Therefore, we need to start talking about the return of sequester in FY18 NOW.
- A Balanced Budget Amendment would be far worse than sequester. There is a movement in the states to call for a Constitutional Convention to institute a Balanced Budget Amendment. This would decimate NDD programs.
NDD United is an alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans.