Crucial Budget Vote: Will The Senate Vote To Increase Or Decrease Spending Over Last Year?

Soon, the Senate will hold a series of three votes on H.R. 2055, H.R. 3672 and H. Con. Res. 94 to complete the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2012. The first vote is on H.R. 2055, the omnibus appropriations bill; the second vote is on H. Con. Res. 94, a 1.83 percent across-the-board rescission to offset disaster spending; and the third vote is on H.R. 3672, which provides for the actual disaster spending. Temporary funding for the government expires tonight at midnight.

The Budget Committee has conducted an analysis of the spending levels in these recently-made-public bills, which is contained below. What is not widely known is that one of the three votes will be on a House proposal to offset the disaster spending, which is above the $1,043 maximum spending cap in the current omnibus package by $8.6 billion, and by $10.9 billion for all FY 2012 appropriations. 

If the disaster offset is defeated in the Senate, we will not achieve the promised $7 billion in discretionary savings over last year, but will in fact increase discretionary spending by $4 billion over last year. Thus, even after the Budget Control Act “cuts,” this would represent a 13 percent increase in discretionary spending since President Obama took office. If the disaster offset is adopted by the Senate, then this current omnibus will stay within the spirit of the Budget Control Act and, taken together with the other appropriations measures, result in a $5 billion reduction from last year for total appropriations of $1,045—two billion over the $1,043 ceiling advertised as the maximum spending level in the Budget Control Act. A vote against the House offset is a vote to increase rather than decrease spending over last year.

[Note: These figures include the changes in mandatory spending (CHiMPs) gimmick that creates the appearance of savings even though changes are largely temporary and thus the spending is only deferred to a later date. Both this year and last year, these savings total over $17 billion. Removing their effect, actual discretionary spending in 2012 will be $1,071 billion if the offset bill fails and $1,063 billion if the offset is passed. For more information, please see the table that follows.]

Non war discretionary approps

To view an appendix with additional details about each section of the omnibus, please click here.