My column in today's Roll Call will help you appear to be an in-the-know budget person when you're next on Capital Hill.
Congress Deserves Some Slack for the Appropriations Delay
Nov. 17, 2009
One of the things you learn quickly when you spend any time on Capitol Hill is that you never use the phrase “omnibus appropriation” in mixed company. In this case, “mixed company” means any group of people that includes a current or former Member or staffer of the House or Senate Appropriations committees.
Appropriations -- the legislation that funds about one-third of what the government spends each year and which has to be enacted annually to prevent a shutdown (remember 1995 and 1996?) have become the forgotten child amidst everything happening in Washington these days. Nuts and bolts-like spending for everything from compensation to...well...actual nuts and bolts just isn't as sexy as health care, bailouts, stimulus bills, Supreme Court nominees, and cap and trade.
But in just a little over a month, apropriations will have to be the primary focus for Congress because, when the House and Senate return from the August recess, the start of the new fiscal year will be about 3 weeks away.
So how's it going?
The quick answer is that Congress actually has a decent chance of getting most or even all appropriations enacted by the start of fiscal 2010 on October 1.
Here's this week's "Fiscal Fitness" column from today's Roll Call.
The Three Tests for This Year’s Appropriations
April 28, 2009
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
It’s not even May but, believe it or not, it’s time to talk about appropriations.
This may be something of a shock to anyone who has watched, analyzed or participated in the budget process over the past decade. In many of those years, Congress either didn’t try or completely failed to put a budget resolution in place and so had to jerry-rig the process to debate appropriations without violating the law.