Partisan Divide Could Halt 2013 Appropriations Process

A bit unexpectedly, fiscal 2013 appropriations bills were moving quickly through committees this week.  Despite lawmakers attempt to ready bills it is unclear whether House and Senate leadership will be able to move them, as there is a significant difference in overall spending levels.  The Senate appropriators are expected to move 12 bills totaling $1.047 trillion later today.  Their counterparts in the House, however, will move a package that is $1.028 trillion.   Bridging this gap is a heavy lift under normal circumstances, but the White House increased pressure yesterday when Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) told House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) in a letter that “until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the president will not be able to sign any appropriations bills.”  The Senate version is in line with the agreement referenced in Zients letter.

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