Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Congress passes continuing resolution, sequestration still uncertain

by Sarah Jawaid, National Housing Conference

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reached a deal to continue funding the government at current levels through March 2013, with no threat of shutdown at fiscal-year end Sept. 30. The deal is being drafted and will come up for vote after the August recess with little controversy expected.

The deal wards off a potentially partisan spending debate during election season, punting the ongoing deficit reduction talks to the new year. Funding levels overall would be consistent with the 2011 Budget Control Act of $1.047 trillion, higher than the Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wi.) $1.028 trillion proposed 2013 budget. Details of how specific housing accounts would be affected have yet to emerge.

As for the sequestration debate—the automatic $1.2 trillion across-the-board cuts to discretionary programs starting Jan. 2013 as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011—it continues on. Thus far, both Houses of Congress have passed H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, requiring the Office of Management and Budget to provide in detail how programs would be affected by the cuts. President Obama has yet to sign the bill, perhaps because as stated in an OMB memo “the president remains confident Congress will act” to overturn the sequester. It remains to be seen how the sequestration will unfold. Read more on Politico and The Hill.

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