Both the House and Senate are moving forward with separate versions of spending bills for the 2013 budget.
In the Senate, leaders from both parties have agreed on an overal spending level of $1.047 trillion for fiscal year 2013, which is the total amount available under the 2011 debt limit agreement.
The House however has adopted a lower spending limit of $1.028 trillion. The House also has so far chosen to spare defense spending from any cuts, meaning that non-defense programs would bear the brunt of any cuts. This includes federal programs that are local priorities such as CDBG, Rural Development, etc.
Recall that if no agreement is reached by the end of the year, the debt agreement calls for automatic cuts in both defense and non-defense spending beginning in January of 2013. Both sides have expressed their desire to avoid such cuts but at this point in time there appears to be little common ground to get there.
Members are urged to encourage Congress to take a balanced approach to the budget. Be sure to speak to your representative about the importance of various federal programs you have used to improve quality of living in your community.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.