Budget Brief 23-19
August 16, 2023

A significant hurdle in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 federal budget process has been the lack of consensus on top-line discretionary spending. The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), enacted in early June, laid the groundwork to clear that hurdle (see Budget Brief 23-18). The FRA specified discretionary caps for defense and non-defense spending for FYs 2024 and 2025. All Congress had to do was allocate those amounts among the 12 appropriations bills.

Things have not gone as planned. House appropriators threw a monkey wrench into the process by proceeding with appropriations under significantly lower nondefense caps. Meanwhile, the Senate is moving appropriations bills based on the FRA.

When Congress returns from its August recess, only a few weeks remain before the start of the fiscal year on October 1. With the House and Senate far apart on overall spending, a continuing resolution (CR) will likely be needed to keep the government running.