April 7, 2009

Congress in Recess after House and Senate Approve FY10 Budget Resolutions

Congress began a two week recess following approval by the House and Senate of their respective versions of the FY10 Budget Resolution setting the stage for a Budget Conference Committee during the week of April 20th when Congress reconvenes. After rejecting four substitute budgets proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus (113 to 318), the Congressional Progressive Caucus (84 to 348), the Republican Study Committee (111 to 322) and the Republican leadership (137 to 293), the House approved its FY10 Budget Resolution by a vote of 233 to 196, with 20 Democrats voting in opposition. The House version provides only $48.5 billion for the FY10 International Affairs Budget representing a $5.3 billion or 10 percent cut from the Administration’s $53.8 billion request.

The Senate passed its FY10 Budget Resolution by a vote of 55 to 43, following adoption of the Kerry-Lugar Amendment by unanimous consent restoring the $4 billion cut to the FY10 International Affairs Budget by the Budget Committee and increasing its allocation to the President’s request. The Senate considered over 100 amendments, including the McCain (R-AZ) substitute, which would have limited increases in non-defense discretionary spending, including the International Affairs Budget, to the rate of inflation and was rejected by a vote of 38 to 60. Overall, the House Budget Resolution provides a discretionary spending level of $1.089 trillion, $8 billion more than the Senate. The total discretionary allocation is important, as this is the total amount the Appropriations Committees will have to divide up between their 12 respective subcommittees, including the State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee which funds the largest portion of the International Affairs Budget