The fiscal year 2016 appropriations process in Congress has broken down despite a burst of momentum over the past six weeks. For the first time in six years, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees completed action on the twelve funding bills before the August recess. In fact, the House was able to pass six appropriations bills.
Nonetheless, it appears that none of the bills will pass both houses. The stalemate is over whether legislators will adhere to the budget caps that were imposed as part of the sequestration process a few years ago. Republican leaders have said they won’t budge on that demand while Democrats are calling for an increase in discretionary spending.
As a result, it’s become obvious Congress will revert to its usual tactic of passing a continuing resolution (or more likely multiple CRs) to keep the federal government operating beyond the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. There has been talk of passing a larger budget deal along the lines of the Ryan-Murray agreement that was in effect the past two years. But getting Congressional Republicans and Democrats to agree on a macro-level and then securing President Obama’s approval is a steep hill to climb.
The link below shows the current status level of funding of programs of interest to our community. The number shown reflects the furthest that agency’s budget has gotten through the process. For example, some bills have passed the House, while none of the Senate bills have been considered on the floor. As you can see most programs are level funded. So while these are not the final budget numbers one should not expect these to change much.