The Topline: Steptoe Appropriations Newsletter - May 17, 2024

SJ
Steptoe LLP

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In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and professional staff across the US, Europe and Asia.
Consistent with his intent to move the FY25 appropriations process at a brisk pace, House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) released the subcommittee allocations for FY25, also known as 302(b)s.
United States Government, Public Sector
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302(b)s on the Scene: Consistent with his intent to move the FY25 appropriations process at a brisk pace, House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) released the subcommittee allocations for FY25, also known as 302(b)s. The 302(b) preview includes a total budget of $1.6 trillion, with a one percent increase in defense spending and a six percent decrease in non-defense spending. Chairman Cole has cautioned that these totals are subject to change as the Congressional Budget Office provides more information on tax receipts and expenditures in the weeks ahead.

While these numbers are written in law as a result of the budget caps passed last summer, prominent Democrats including House Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have called upon Chairman Cole to reconsider these funding totals and instead increase both defense and non-defense spending by one percent. Senate Democrats have also communicated that they would like to see higher totals for both defense and non-defense spending, though Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) is pushing back on calls for parity, citing global threats and insufficient defense.

Markup Sprint: As we've predicted, the House is going to move quickly on FY25 and Chairman Cole wants to report all spending bills from his committee by the August recess. This week he revealed an ambitious markup schedule: 24 total markups (one markup in each of the 12 subcommittees, followed by 12 markups in the full committee) by July 10, which is only five legislative weeks away.

For those who follow appropriations like us, markups are when things get exciting. For the first time we will see the bill text and accompanying reports and have an opportunity to weigh in with amendments or statements at the committee markups. For those who are new to the process, the House and Senate will produce their own bills and mark them up independently. Any language or funding discrepancies will be ironed out in conference.

Can-Kick Incoming? Despite the breakneck speed of the House markups, the chance of a stopgap funding measure by September remains certain. With the late start for FY25, there isn't enough time to get all 12 bills passed by both chambers and go to conference by the September 30 deadline. The bottom line: don't expect any major funding packages to pass before the election.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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