AAU Council on Federal Relations Update: Senate Gives Final Approval on Budget Deal
DEC. 18, 2013
SENATE GIVES FINAL APPROVAL TO THE TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL
The Senate today voted 64 to 36 to give final congressional approval to the two-year federal budget deal, which the President supports and is expected to sign later this week. The House approved the package December 12 on a vote of 332 to 94.
AAU issued a statement supporting the budget agreement on December 11, and joined with several other higher education associations in sending letters to all members of the House and then to all members of the Senate urging them to approve the package.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 59) should avert the threat of a government shutdown when the current FY14 continuing resolution expires on January 15.
The budget measure increases discretionary spending in FY14 by $45 billion over the FY14 sequester level, evenly divided between defense and nondefense programs. It provides another $18 billion of sequester relief in FY15. The sequester cuts are replaced by a combination of user fees, policy changes, higher pension contributions for federal workers, and modified benefits for certain military retirees. The package also extends the two-percent cut to Medicare providers an additional two years, through FY23.
With the expectation that Congress would approve the budget measure, House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders have already begun meeting to write a wrap-up spending package for the remainder of FY14. CQ.com reports that the two committee chairs, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), are expected to act quickly to provide their 12 respective subcommittee chairs with their FY14 spending allocations. The deadline for Congress to approve a funding package is January 15, when the current continuing resolution expires.
HIGHER EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONS URGE SENATORS TO APPROVE BUDGET AGREEMENT
As noted above, a group of 18 higher education associations, including AAU, sent a letter to all Senators on December 17 expressing support for passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The letter said that the measure “is a sensible, balanced and bipartisan approach that helps to address our nation’s fiscal challenges. It would allow Congress to begin to undo the damage caused to federal student aid and research programs imposed by sequestration.” The letter is the same as the letter the associations sent Members of the House on December 12.
CNSR ISSUES STATEMENT ON FY14 DEFENSE RESEARCH APPROPRIATIONS
The Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), a group in which AAU participates, today issued a statement urging Congress to fund Defense science and technology (S&T) programs in FY14 at the levels approved in the FY14 Defense authorization bill.
Earlier this afternoon, that measure, the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1960), received final congressional approval when the Senate passed it on a vote of 71 to 29. The bill had passed the House on December 12 by a vote of 350 to 69. (The CNSR letter is attached.)
The CNSR statement said, “The Department of Defense S&T portfolio is the incubator for the next generation of defense technologies that will maintain our military superiority and increase the capabilities of warfighters during a time of transformation and force reduction. Failure to adequately fund these accounts, at levels already authorized, may have long-term negative impacts as our technological edge begins to erode.”