Senate Democrats Set Spending Levels For 2013 and Budget Enforcement Through 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Democrats today set discretionary spending limits for fiscal year 2013 and budget enforcement levels for the Senate through 2022. The “deeming” resolution filed today by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) adheres to the reduced discretionary spending levels established in last summer’s Budget Control Act. His action allows Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) to proceed with drafting spending bills for fiscal year 2013, and ensures the Senate will have the tools to enforce those limits when the bills are considered. 

“The deeming resolution I filed formally sets spending for 2013 at the levels Democrats and Republicans agreed to in last summer’s Budget Control Act, and ensures that we can enforce those levels,” said Chairman Conrad. “Those who continue to claim we do not have a budget are either not paying attention or are seeking to deliberately mislead the public. The Budget Control Act established the key components of the budget for 2012 and 2013. By formally setting the spending limits and enforcement levels for the year with today’s filing, the Appropriations Committee can now do its job of reporting spending bills that are within budget levels agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans.”

“As the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, it is my responsibility to move 12 bills through the legislative process and get them to the President’s desk for his signature,” said Chairman Inouye. “The fact of the matter is that if the Republicans in the House abandon the deal we made in August, it will make it very difficult for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to fulfill our duties. As we saw last year, differing top-line numbers lead to needless delay and in the end, no one should doubt that the Senate will not move from the agreed-upon level of $1.047 trillion for discretionary spending. It is my sincere hope that House Republicans will not follow this path, and will instead honor the deal they made, and allow the two Appropriations Committees to move as many bills as possible through the regular order, and not force us, yet again, to turn to an Omnibus Appropriations bill at the end of the year.”  

The Budget Control Act of 2011, which was passed by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President, required the Budget Committee Chairman to file deeming resolutions for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Chairman Conrad filed a deeming resolution for 2012 in September. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released its March baseline with revised budget figures for 2013, which allowed Chairman Conrad to complete work on the deeming resolution for 2013. In addition to setting the discretionary spending limit for 2013, today’s filing set budget enforcement levels for the Senate for fiscal years 2012, 2013, the five-year window through 2017, and the 10-year window through 2022.

Although last year’s budget process was unusual, due to the high-level negotiations between the White House and Congressional Democrats and Republicans over raising the debt limit, the resulting Budget Control Act achieved all of the essential elements of a traditional budget resolution. In many ways, the Budget Control Act was even more extensive than a regular congressional budget: 

  • It has the force of law, unlike a budget resolution that is not signed by the President.
  • It set discretionary caps for 10 years, instead of the one year normally set in a budget resolution.
  • It provided deeming resolutions for two years, improving enforcement of budget points of order.
  • And it addressed entitlement spending and revenues by creating the “Super Committee,” which was given explicit authority to reform entitlements and the tax code. The Super Committee process represented an enhanced version of the reconciliation process that can be established under a budget resolution. And it was further backed up with a $1.2 trillion sequester.

“We still must come together on a budget plan that addresses the long-term fiscal imbalance,” said Conrad. “But the short-term budget is in place. The Republican leadership in Congress needs to honor the agreement they made last summer and keep to the overall spending levels set in the Budget Control Act. If they fail to do so, they will once again threaten to shut down the government and needlessly imperil the economic recovery.” 

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Transcript of Chairman Conrad's Floor Speech
Transcript of Chairman Conrad's Remarks at Press Conference

Charts Used During Press Conference and During Floor Speech
FY 2013 Deeming Resolution

Pictures Taken During Press Conference
Conrad/Inouye Letter
to House GOP Leadership on FY 2013 Spending Levels

Contact: Stu Nagurka (202) 224-7436 (Budget Committee)
Rob Blumenthal (202) 224-1010 (Appropriations Committee)