Federal Science Partners Periodic Update

Agreement Reached To Raised Overall Spending Caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 -- As been reported in the national press, a budget deal has been reached to increase the budget caps for Fiscal Years (FY) 2020 and 2021.  

Precipitating this budget deal was the impending breach of federal debt limit that was expected to be reached in early September.  This prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to begin negotiating, and Speaker Pelosi insisted that a fix for the debt limit be accompanied by a two-year budget deal.  The agreement suspends the debt-ceiling until the end of July 2021 and raises federal spending through September 2021.

The new defense base would be $666.6 billion and $671.5 billion for FY 2020 and 2021, respectively. Nondefense spending would be $624 billion for FY 2020 and $626.5 billion for FY 2021.  The new levels for FY 2020 are significantly higher than the administration's fiscal 2020 request.  In general, the agreement to raise the FY 2020 spending cap will mean that agencies will see an average increase of approximately 4% above their FY 2019 level instead of the 10% reduction they would have been forced to take if the FY 2020 spending caps had not been amended by this agreement.

 In addition, the agreement does not extend the annual budget caps and reductions (sequestration) that was in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Budget Control Act of 2011 set caps and reductions from 2011-2021 and this new agreement in 2019 does NOT extend the caps and reductions, as the Trump administration had proposed to achieve future savings as part of the agreement.

The agreement also indicates that Congress will work toward a timely resolution of FY 2020 spending.  Speaker Pelosi released a letter to her Democratic colleagues that was accompanied by a brief list of highlights ending with,  "The President, Congressional leaders and the leadership of the Appropriations Committees shall work together to reach bicameral and bipartisan agreement on the orderly and timely consideration of FY 2020 appropriations bills to avoid a government shutdown, and a 12-bill omnibus."

The House has passed all FY 2020 appropriations bills except the Homeland Security appropriations bill.  The Senate has not yet considered any FY 2020 appropriations bills.  It is expected that the Senate will begin considering FY 2020 bills when Congress returns after the August recess, the week of September 10.