Lawmakers continue work on the FY 2022 budget as the August recess nears, with House members moving toward a floor vote on a key piece of legislation and senators reaching an agreement on an emergency supplemental to address National Guard budget shortfalls related to the Jan. 6 attack and its aftermath, among other issues.
MOAA follows several parts of the budget process closely. The House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittees are of particular interest, with the former having jurisdiction over DoD’s budget and the latter overseeing funding for military construction and the VA.
The budget process began with the White House’s delayed release of the President’s FY 2022 budget request in late May. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees began markups in June on the 12 appropriations bills that make up the discretionary funding of federal agencies and programs.
Of the 12 House appropriations bills, seven have been grouped together into an omnibus bill (nicknamed a “minibus”) which is expected to be considered on the House floor this week. The House version of the MilCon-VA appropriations bill is included in that minibus package.
The House Rules Committee provided a detailed rule for floor consideration on Monday after a number of lawmakers submitted amendments for consideration for the minibus bill. The House Rules Committee will also work on a rule for floor consideration on submitted amendments for the remaining House appropriations bills, but it is unclear whether the floor debate will take place this week or after the August recess.
There is no indication as to when the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on its versions of the bills. Last year, the Senate did not release its appropriations bills until the fall.
As always, Congress is working to pass the budget ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline. If Congress cannot pass a budget before that date, it will need to pass a continuing resolution (CR), which carries over the appropriated funding set in the last fiscal year through a given date, avoiding a government shutdown. CRs have been used in one form or another in every fiscal year since 1997.
Failure to pass the budget on time directly impacts the uniformed services, veterans, retirees, survivors, caregivers, and their families. Under a CR, new programs cannot begin, and existing programs stay stagnant at the previous year’s funding levels.
National Guard, Debt Ceiling Concerns
As the budget process continues, Congress is working to address the $521 million funding gap facing the National Guard for its response to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6. The Senate announced a deal this week that reimburses the Guard, supports Afghan refugees, and expands the Afghan Special Immigrant Visas to improve processing.
Another factor in the budget timeline: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote a letter to Congress July 23 urging members to take action on a budget, as the debt limit suspension is set to expire at the end of July.
Without action from Congress, Yellen wrote, her department would not be able to pay the nation’s bills past September. Passing a budget is now more important than ever, and the expiration of the debt limit suspension risks upsetting the budget process in a major way in the immediate future.
MOAA’s Government Relations Department will continue to engage with lawmakers on the timely passage of this year’s budget. MOAA members can stay up to date on the latest advocacy news by visiting our website and can help MOAA’s voice be heard by utilizing our Take Action Center.
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