Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 18   Issue 11, April 1, 2011
 

SPENDING BATTLE WAGES ON

With the sixth continuing resolution expiring April 8, Congress is working to put together a package of spending cuts that would be amenable to both political parties, both houses and the administration. A new proposal that would target $33 billion in cuts is currently being negotiated by House and Senate leaders. This plan would provide an additional $23 billion in cuts over what has already been enacted in the previous two continuing resolution extensions. It would still fall short, however, of the $61.5 billion in spending cuts passed in H.R. 1. Specifics on the new cuts have yet to be outlined. In addition to finding compromise on spending reductions, congressional leaders must also determine the fate of several policy riders also enacted in H.R. 1, such as reduced funding for Planned Parenthood, various Environmental Protection Agency regulatory initiatives, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, an agreement on raising the national debt ceiling beyond $14.29 trillion has yet to be reached, even as Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner warns that the limit may be reached as soon as mid-April. (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley)


NCSL TESTIFIES IN U.S. HOUSE

On March 30, South Dakota Senator Joni Cutler testified on behalf of NCSL in front of a U.S. House panel on the fiscal burdens states face because of unfunded mandates levied by the federal government. The session, titled Unfunded Mandates and Regulatory Overreach Part II, was before the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform. Senator Cutler discussed the need for Congress to work with NCSL to amend the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 to achieve its original legislative intent of curbing the practice of imposing unfunded federal mandates on state and local governments. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, along with Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas recently introduced H.R. 373, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2011. Rep. Foxx has sponsored similar bipartisan legislation in the past, which would require the Congressional Budget Office to report indirect costs and the state impact of changes to conditions of grant aid. NCSL’s press release on Senator Cutler’s testimony is available here: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=22450 . Her written testimony can be viewed here: http://www.ncsl.org/portals/1/documents/ncsl/umratestimony.pdf. (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley)


BUDGET RESOLUTION ON-DECK

Despite the work still to be done on FY 2011 appropriations, the House Budget Committee is expected to mark up its budget resolution next week. With only discretionary cuts on the table for the remainder of the current fiscal year, early indications are the House will address major entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and even Social Security in the FY 2012 budget plan. Congress was unable to complete a budget resolution last year. Traditionally the final adoption of the budget resolution is completed by April 15, although this deadline is often missed. (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley [budget resolutions generally]; Joy Wilson, Rachel Morgan [Medicaid, Medicare])