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Senate, House Committees Move FY2009 Budget Resolutions

This week, the House and Senate Budget Committees approved their respective versions of the FY2009 budget resolution. The nonbinding resolutions provide guidelines for federal spending in the upcoming fiscal year. The president submitted his budget request to Congress on February 4 (see The Source, 2/5/08).

Senate Budget Committee

On March 6, the Senate Budget Committee approved, 12-10, the FY2009 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 70).

The resolution would provide $1.009 trillion in discretionary spending in FY2009 and would fully fund the president’s FY2009 request for $70 billion in additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure also would provide a 3.4 percent pay increase for military personnel and would reject the president’s proposals for the military health care program, TRICARE.

The Senate resolution proposes to increase overall funding for education by $5.4 billion over the president’s budget request. This increase would include additional funding for Head Start, programs under No Child Left Behind (P.L. 107-110), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (P.L. 101-476), Pell Grants, and job training.

The measure would provide $2.9 billion for community health centers, $30 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $5.6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and $2.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant.

The Senate resolution also includes a $50 billion deficit-neutral reserve fund to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) (P.L. 105-33) to an estimated 6 million eligible children who currently are not enrolled in either SCHIP or Medicaid.

The resolution also “provides the option” for an additional economic stimulus package by establishing a $35 billion deficit-neutral reserve fund, which would provide assistance to low-income families by reauthorizing grants under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (P.L. 104-193), or making improvements to the TANF program, child welfare programs, or child support enforcement, reauthorizing trade adjustment compensation programs, improving unemployment compensation, or providing up to $5 billion for child care entitlement to states.

The resolution would reject the president’s proposal to cut the Social Services Block Grant program.

The Senate measure also would provide a one-year extension of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) “patch,” but would not require an offset to pay for the “patch.”

House Budget Committee

On March 5, the House Budget Committee approved, 22-16, its version of the FY2009 budget resolution (as-yet-unnumbered).

The measure would provide for $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending, $22.4 billion over the president’s budget request, and allocate $38.3 billion for international affairs, $85.3 billion for education, training, employment, and social services, and $57.6 billion for health care programs.

The resolution also would permit a fully offset, one-year AMT “patch” to move through Congress protected by the budget reconciliation process. Congress passed an AMT “patch” that did not contain offsets in December (see The Source, 12/19/07).

During the consideration of the budget resolution, the committee adopted, by voice vote, an amendment that would express the sense of the House of Representatives that additional legislative action is necessary to ensure that states have the resources to collect and distribute 100 percent of child support owed to families without financial penalties.

The committee rejected:

  • an amendment by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) to instruct the House Ways and Means Committee to extend the AMT “patch” for one year, but prevent offsetting revenue increases by instructing the committee to reduce revenue by not more than $61 billion during FY2008-2012, 16-22;
  • an amendment by Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH) to ensure that marginal tax rates for married couples do not increase when the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts (P.L. 107-16 and P.L. 108-27, respectively) expire, 14-20;
  • an amendment by Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) to ensure that the child tax credit will not be cut from $1,000 to $500, 16-22; and
  • an amendment by Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) to repeal the AMT, 16-21.

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