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Fiscal Year 2002 Congressional Budget Resolution (7-10-01)

Each year, the Congress composes a Budget Resolution that sets forth a congressional budget plan for at least five years.  According to the House Budget Committee's Glossary of Budget Terms, the resolution "consists of spending and revenue targets and is implemented through subsequent legislation, including appropriations acts and changes in laws that affect revenues and direct spending."  Unlike bills, the budget resolution does not require the President's signature and does not become law, making it a nonbonding fiscal blueprint.

The last several years of budget discussions have been based on the 1997 budget agreement that helped to balance the budget and produce a surplus, but this agreement is now basically moot due to the election.  President George W. Bush placed top priority on a tax cut.  Congress moved swiftly on this tax package (H.R. 1836) and passed the bill before the end of May.  The new tax bill in combination with Bush's desire to cap federal funding increases at about 4% per year, have forced Congress to redefine the budget approach.  To add to the challenge, both the House and Senate are almost evenly split between the parties.  When both the tax bill and the budget resolution were passed, the Republicans held the leadership in both chambers, but the departure of Senator James Jeffords from the Republican party to become an Independent shifted the power in the Senate.  Now that the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans control the House (by 10 votes) the question is how the new make-up will affect the actual funding for the fiscal year (FY) 2002 budget.

Both chambers of Congress have developed their ten-year budget resolution that will cover FY2001 to FY2011.  Due primarily to the even party split in the Senate, the Senate Budget Committee was not able to agree upon a budget resolution so it was developed on the Senate floor.  After several days of floor debate, the Senate passed its un-numbered resolution on  April 6th in a 65-35 vote.  In March, the House completed action on its resolution (H. Con. Res. 83) by passing it in a party-line vote of 222-210.  Before the resolution went to the House floor, the House Budget Committee released its report on the bill (H. Rept. 107-26).  A compromise was reached between the two chambers but the vote was delayed due to two pages that were missing.  After the problem was corrected, the conferenced version (H. Rept. 107-60) was passed in early May.  Below are charts containing numbers for both the House and Senate version of the budget resolution.  More information on the conferenced version and the allocations for the 13 appropriation subcommittees is available after these tables.
 

House Budget Resolution (in billions for discretionary spending)
Functional Categories
FY2001
FY2002
FY2003
FY2004
FY2005
 
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
General Science, Space & Technology (250) $20.9 $19.6 $22.0 $21.0 $22.5 $21.8 $23.1 $22.4 $23.6 $23.0
Energy (270) $3.1 $3.1 $2.8 $2.9 $2.7 $2.8 $3.0 $2.9 $3.1 $3.0
Natural Resources & Environment (300) $28.4 $26.4 $26.4 $26.2 $26.5 $26.6 $27.2 $27.0 $27.4 $27.2

 
Senate Budget Resolution (in billions for discretionary spending)
Functional Categories
FY2001
FY2002 
FY2003
FY2004
FY2005
 
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
General Science, Space & Technology (250) $20.9 $19.6 $22.6 $21.1 $21.7 $20.9 $22.3 $21.7 $22.8 $22.2
Energy (270) $3.1 $3.1 $3.6 $3.2 $2.9 $3.0 $3.2 $3.1 $3.3 $3.2
Natural Resources & Environment (300) $28.4 $26.4 $29.0 $28.6 $26.6 $26.8 $27.2 $27.1 $27.5 $27.3


Conference Budget Resolution

Senate and House members of the Conference Committee faced an uphill battle when they began the conference process.  The House version of the budget resolution was a near copy of the president's proposal that took into account the tax package for future years -- the tax break will have only minor effects on this year's funding levels.  It also keeps the federal discretionary spending growth to only 4% increase over FY2001 funding.  The Senate version is a mixed bag, partially because it was crafted on the Senate floor and not in the small body of a committee.

Function 250 funds general science, space, and technology programs -- the National Science Foundation (NSF), most National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) activities, and science programs at the Department of Energy (DOE).  The House version of the budget resolution provided $22.2 billion and assumes $4.5 billion for NSF.  The Senate resolution would have provided $22.8 billion for Function 250.  It also included an amendment to increase NSF's allocation by $674 million that would "provide additional funding for NSF along a doubling path similar to that of the National Institutes of Health."  There was also language on climate change -- a multifunction area -- to increase funding for climate change programs by $500 million from FY2002 to FY2011.  The final conference allocation for Function 250 totaled $21.6 billion, of which $21.4 is discretionary spending.

Function 270 funds "civilian activities at the Department of Energy, the Rural Utilities Service, the power programs of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)."  This function contains mostly mandatory spending and sections that produce revenue.  The conference resolution provided a total of $3.3 billion in Function 270 discretionary spending.

Function 300 funds natural resource and environmental programs, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  The House version would provide $26.7 billion and the Senate version would provide $29.6 billion.  Both versions would support the President's request to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million.  In total the budget resolution provides $30.4 billion for Function 300, of which $29.7 billion is discretionary spending.
 

Conference Budget Resolution (in billions for discretionary spending)
Functional Categories
FY2001
FY2002
FY2003
FY2004
FY2005
 Budget Authority
Outlays
 Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
Budget Authority
Outlays
General Science, Space & Technology (250)  $20.9 $19.6 $21.4 $20.7 $21.9 $21.2 $22.3 $21.8 $22.8 $22.3
Energy (270) $3.1 $3.1 $3.3 $3.1 $3.3 $3.2 $3.4 $3.3 $3.4 $3.4
Natural Resources & Environment (300) $28.7 $26.4 $29.7 $28.1 $30.5 $29.7 $31.4 $30.7 $32.2 $31.6


302(b) Allocations for 13 Appropriation Bills

The link between the budget resolution and the rest of the appropriations process is the decision on the 302(b) allocations for each of the 13 appropriation bills.  302(b) allocation is budget talk for the amount of discretionary funds that the 13 appropriations subcommittees will have to work within as they each craft their respective appropriations bill.  The two chambers do not have to have the same 302(b) allocations for each subcommittee, but the grand total must meet the agreed-upon budget resolution of $661.3 billion.  Below are the House and Senate 302(b) allocations with the FY2001 level and the President's request for comparison.
 

302(b) Allocations (in millions)
Subcommittee/Other
FY2001 Enacted
FY2002
Request
House
Senate
Agriculture $18,716 $15,409 $15,519 $16,092
Commerce/Justice/State $37,569 $37,944 $38,541 $38,760
Defense $287,381 $300,962 $300,292 $289,568
District of Columbia $463 $343 $382 $392
Energy and Water $23,556 $22,517 $23,704 $25,192
Foreign Operations $14,864 $15,168 $15,168 $15,524
Interior $18,892 $18,092 $18,941 $18,527
Labor/HHS.Education $108,477 $115,682 $119,758 $119,000
Legislative $2,649 $2,962 $2,908 $3,055
Military Construction $8,857 $9,650 $10,155 $9,649
Transportation $16,455 $14,891 $14,893 $15,579
Treasury, Postal Service $15,795 $16,488 $16,880 $16,972
VA/HUD $80,551 $83,363 $84,159 $84,159
Allowances $0 $5,321 $0 $0
Total, Discretionary 
$634,225 $658,792 $661,300 $661,300
Budget Resolution     $661,300 $661,300


Sources: Senate Budget Committee Website, House Budget Committee Website, Thomas Legislative Information Service, Greenwire, AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program website, and Energy & Environment Publishing.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs Program

Posted July 10, 2001


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