White House may step in on appropriations bills

In an indication of increased involvement by congressional leaders in the appropriations process this year, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., wants to convene a bicameral meeting as early as Thursday with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla., and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to work through the annual exercise of translating the budget resolution's discretionary spending limit into allocations for the 13 Appropriations subcommittees.

Ultimately, Hastert and Frist want President Bush to back them up so that GOP conservatives and defense hawks do not revolt and refuse to go along with a proposal to rescind money from the fiscal 2003 supplemental spending bill and distribute it among subcommittees that would otherwise suffer potentially unsupportable cuts.

For more than a month now, appropriators have been stymied in their efforts to arrive at their respective 302(b) allocations, saying they cannot produce passable spending bills under the budget resolution's $784.5 billion spending limit-particularly when they are effectively starting out with $10 billion less than what they were allotted.

A succession of meetings between appropriators and leaders in both chambers has failed to produce a solution. The latest meeting, between Hastert and Young, took place Wednesday.

This year's congressional budget was roughly $2 billion to $3 billion less than President Bush's budget. In addition, it contains $7.6 billion in spending increases members insisted on-such as those for education, veterans and the National Science Foundation-that is not offset.

Starting that far in the red, appropriators say, means writing fiscal 2004 bills that would require significant cuts in programs members support.

House appropriators have proposed taking from $5 billion to $7 billion in unspent funds that were provided in the supplemental and adding it back into defense accounts later this year when Congress takes up a 2004 supplemental to cover further expenses incurred in the war in Iraq and its aftermath.

But because defense increases have become almost politically untouchable, Hastert reportedly wants to limit any rescission to around $3 billion.

Senate appropriators have been considering a number of different scenarios, but said they are willing to work with their House counterparts to arrive at a common solution. But Senate appropriators want to take the unprecedented step of producing joint subcommittee allocations with the House, while House appropriators insist on retaining the freedom to set their own spending priorities.

Bringing the White House into the expanding pool of negotiators-which only Wednesday grew to include House Majority Leader DeLay-represents a new wrinkle in the process and a change that has guardians of Congress' power of the purse worried that Congress is ceding too much power to the White House.

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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