New Congress to Set Spending for Remainder of FY 2011

As the 111th Congress was winding down, Democrats had hoped to push through an omnibus bill or year-long Continuing Resolution to fund government programs for FY 2011 which began on Oct. 1, 2010. In the end, House and Senate leaders were able to get agreement on a short-term Continuing Resolution that expires on March 4, 2011. This means that the new Congress will be taking up spending for government agencies for the remainder of FY 2011.

According to Congressional Quarterly, the incoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers (R-KY), stated: "This is a critical time for the Appropriations Committee as we will carry out the most expansive reduction of discretionary spending in the history of our nation." He added, “our budget ax will swing wide and true, and no area of the federal government will be immune from our scrutiny and cuts.”

As reported previously, the new House majority is proposing to roll back spending to 2008 levels. Under rules adopted by the House last week, the new House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, will unilaterally establish spending caps for spending for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011. Ryan estimated that $60 billion will be cut from non-security spending this fiscal year alone.

The House plans to vote on a bill each week that will cut federal spending, and last week cut its own funding. The House plans to continue its cost-cutting measures by voting each week on proposals that citizens selected through the YouCut website. Of the cuts proposed by Republican lawmakers, the one receiving the most votes each week will be brought to the House floor, without any Committee action.

Meanwhile, the Administration is working on a new budget for FY 2012 which is scheduled to be released on February 14, 2011.