Saturday, December 18, 2010

FY11 VA, DoD Funding Remains Unclear

Written by Anthony Hardie, DAV-Wis. Special Assistant

( U.S. House of Representatives today voted to fund the federal government into next week, buying time for the current lame duck Congress to seek a compromise effort to decide FY11 funding for the entire federal government.

At stake are all twelve FY11 appropriations bills – including the Defense (DoD), and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MILCON-VA) bills -- which both houses of Congress have been seeking to roll into a single bill. 

The House has already passed a Continuing Resolution (CR), which, if passed by the U.S. Senate would fund the federal government at current FY10 levels.

Meanwhile, the Senate has been working on a separate, omnibus appropriations bill.   However, Senate Republicans have been successful in using a variety of delaying tactics that to date have prevented the Senate from passing even a single FY11 spending bill.

At particular stake for veterans are the VA spending bill and key measures, including Congressionally directed military medical health research, in the DoD spending bill. 

The current Congress ends on January 3, 2011, when the House majority will shift to Republican control.  The Democrats’ control of the Senate will be retained, albeit with a smaller majority than is currently held.

According to The Hill, one of two leading Capitol Hill daily newspapers, House Republicans want to roll federal spending back to FY08 levels. 

The New York Times used even stronger language, calling the current impasse a “collapse” into “partisan chaos.” 

According to the Times, “Aides said that behind closed doors, White House officials and some Democratic lawmakers were still trying to strike a deal to finance the government through September. But the officials said it was much more likely that government financing would be extended only into February or March.”

With all the twists and turns in Congress over the last week, the ultimate outcome is anyone’s guess.



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