Congress Finalizes the Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Process

This week the House and Senate passed HR 933, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, providing funding to federal agencies for the final six months of the 2013 fiscal year (FY2013).  Passage of the bill prevents a government shutdown and ensures that federal agencies are funded through September 30, 2013.

Though it does leave in place the sequestration cuts that went into effect on March 1, the bill structures how those cuts will go into effect for most agencies, though a very notable exception is the Department of Health and Human Services which will largely operate on an extension of the prior year’s budget authority.  Unfortunately the bill does not include funding sought by the White House to implement the health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act and to avoid a loss of slots in the Head Start program.  It does however include a $50 million increase in child care funds through the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), a $33.5 million increase for Head Start to implement reforms to the contracting process, and extends authorization for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and CCDBG through the end of the fiscal year.

Now that the FY2013 appropriations process has concluded, Congress’ attention will turn to the 2014 process which has already kicked off with the release of the House and Senate budget plans.  President Obama’s budget is expected to be released in the next few weeks as well.

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