Lawmakers may push for increased discretionary spending

House Appropriations Committee Majority Staff Director James Dyer on Tuesday indicated that appropriators may push for a higher discretionary spending number than what is provided for in either the Budget Committee's fiscal 2003 budget resolution or President Bush's fiscal 2003 budget.

Speaking before a seminar on the outlook for spending and tax policy in 2002 sponsored by Fleishman-Hillard, Dyer also suggested that, to keep to the budget resolution's $768 billion FY03 discretionary spending ceiling, appropriators may have to cut the defense number of $379 billion to meet bipartisan pressure to spend more on non-defense programs than the budget resolution allows.

"Can we live with 768 [billion]? Maybe. Will we get more? Possibly," Dyer said. "Can we reduce defense in a time of war? That is the choice that will face policy makers on my committee." Otherwise, Dyer suggested that, as in years past, appropriators of both parties and the White House would have to negotiate a new, higher spending figure.

Dyer pointed out that the GOP budget calls for increasing defense spending by 13 percent over fiscal 2002, compared with a 1 percent increase for non-defense programs, despite bipartisan support for directing more money to priorities such as health research, Pell grants, NASA, veterans health benefits and highway construction.

Dyer said the FY02 supplemental request would come at the end of the week with a price tag of $20 billion to $25 billion--with roughly $12 billion to $14 billion going to defense, $2 billion to $4 billion to airport security, at least $1 billion to foreign aid and $1 billion to make up the short fall in Pell grant funding.

Former White House Chief of Staff Panetta, who also spoke on the panel, predicted Bush would at least get the $48 billion defense increase he is seeking this year, if not more, while an election-year Congress would make sure to get more non-defense dollars in the bargain. "Make no mistake," Leon Panetta declared, "The president will not only get his [defense] number, but the Congress will probably add even more. And he's not going to get the Congress to say we're going to screw non-defense in the process. They're just not going to do it," Panetta added.

Stan Collender, managing director of Fleishman-Hillard's federal budget consulting group and a Government Executive columnist, predicted that total FY03 discretionary spending could hit $800 billion.

In an election year, when Bush "has essentially given everybody a free pass on the deficit" and the prospects for a House-Senate budget agreement are "zero," Collender said the result would be "a much higher deficit than anyone is admitting," which in turn would lead to a larger federal debt than now projected and significantly higher federal interest payments on that debt.

"This will come back to bite somebody," Collender said, in the form of higher interest rates that eventually could get consumers and homeowners angry enough to put the budget deficit back at the top of Congress' agenda. Otherwise, Collender forecast "a decade of refighting this battle and suffering the consequences of it."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.