Congress is still working on Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations. At least three options, as explained below, appear to be under consideration.
As events are in flux at this point, please click on the “Take Action” button in the upper right-hand corner of this email to call your congressional representatives and urge them to ensure that, regardless of what appropriations end-game strategy plays out, the funding levels for TBI programs contained in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill recently passed by Congress are enacted into law this year.
Three key possibilities for appropriations strategy moving forward seem to be:
1) A year-long Continuing Resolution (CR): This is not likely, as Congressional leadership has expressed a strong desire to pass an omnibus bill of some sorts. A year-long CR would result in the same spending levels for next year (Fiscal Year 2008) as this last year (Fiscal Year 2007).
2) A compromise multi-bill, “split-the-difference” omnibus appropriations package: Democratic leaders still may decide to pursue some form of a compromise multi-bill omnibus appropriations package that would split the difference between the White House and Congressional budget proposals, despite President Bush’s veto threat. Such an omnibus bill was expected to include $11 billion (reduced from the originally envisioned $23 billion by Democratic leadership in Congress) over the President’s total budget request of $933 billion for Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations. This bill would likely include a cut of approximately $3.5 billion in funding from the recently passed Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. BIAA and other TBI advocacy groups have been actively lobbying for such a “split-the-difference” omnibus bill to retain the funding levels for TBI programs contained in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill recently passed by Congress.
3) A multi-bill omnibus bill meeting President Bush’s budget funding cap level: In view of the veto threat by the White House, House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey ( D-Wis.) has proposed an omnibus bill which would meet the President’s budget cap request of $933 billion in total spending for Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations. Chairman Obey has proposed paring down funding to the President’s budget level by cutting Republican-favored programs and eliminating earmarks. It is unclear how TBI programs would be impacted by this strategy.