The 2024 budget is about to get lapped by the 2025 wish list

Because Congress is so late establishing a appropriations for fiscal 2024, the year is getting lapped by the 2025 budget proposal.

Because Congress is so late establishing a appropriations for fiscal 2024, the year is getting lapped by the 2025. The administration releases its budget proposal, more a wish list today. It’ll get ceremonial attention. But there’s still some deadlines for this year. More now, the Federal Drive with Tom Temin spoke with WTOP Capitol Hill Correspondent Mitchell Miller.

Interview Transcript: 

Tom Temin they’re kind of backing up into one big budgetary blob, you might say.

Mitchell Miller Yeah. And the blob keeps moving very, very slowly. It’s a bad horror movie. This is really a strange situation where you have this overlap taking place. And the president, of course, unveiling this wish list in a political year. An election year. Of course, this wish list is going to be even longer and bigger than usual. And that means, of course, that a lot of this won’t actually come to fruition, but at least it will be the traditional starting point for looking at all these spending plans. Now, the Republicans tried to get ahead of the president last week. The House Budget Committee voted along party lines last week to approve a 2025 budget framework. Again, take all of this with a grain of salt, but the GOP spending outline would basically have the defense budget go over the 1 trillion mark through 2032. And there would be, at least according to Republicans, a savings of nearly $3 trillion over ten years. But of course, they are very short on specifics. A lot of this is based, as is often the case, on economic growth. So, the GOP plan would essentially try to balance things out over the next decade. It would still add, though, $6 trillion to the deficit. Republicans in the last year never really brought a budget resolution. So, this is a nonbinding budget outline, but again, it’s a starting point. As we see this tug of war begin in 2025 as we try to get done with 2024 as fiscal year.

Tom Temin Yeah. And just briefly in 2025, is it likely that there will be this parity? I mean, parity, not parody like a comedy, right. Of parity of the non-defense side and the defense sides.

Mitchell Miller I think they’re going to try to get to that, but I don’t know that they’re actually going to reach that. There are obviously a lot of people, particularly defense hawks who want to see the defense side, really continue to, amp up, given all the things that are happening internationally, both in the Middle East and Ukraine, elsewhere. But, Democrats will, of course, be pushing hard to get more domestic spending, to try to get to some of that parity. And as you mentioned, some people think that this is a parody, P-A-R-O-D-Y because of the unrealistic level of some of these proposals.

Tom Temin And let’s talk about the set of appropriations bills required to get 2024 done. Because, again, there was when we last spoke two deadlines, they avoided that. But there’s still two new deadlines.

Mitchell Miller Right? So, they the Senate finally agreed to the first part of the deadline, which was on Friday. And this is this first tranche of six appropriations bills, a little less controversial than the ones that are coming up, which include the Defense Department budget. And what’s interesting about this is some critics have pointed out that while there was this attempt to get to regular order, by Republicans as well as Democrats, essentially some people would argue that the omnibus that traditionally has been passed near the end of the year were effectively in that same mode, only were more than five months late. It’s just that they’ve been broken up into these two minibuses. So, over the next two weeks, we’re going to be seeing a lot of progress on these. The second part, the six appropriations bills. And that also includes Homeland Security, some other controversial areas. But they do believe lawmakers from both parties that this will finally sew up the 2024 fiscal year. We’ll see if that happens. But that means even if they do it as they plan to do it, that the fiscal, budget for this year won’t be completed until March 22nd. Coming several weeks, a couple of weeks after, of course, the State of the Union address, which was last week. And of course, again, almost six months, beyond the fiscal start of the year back in October.

Tom Temin We’re speaking with Mitchell Miller. He is Capitol Hill correspondent for WTOP. And just out of curiosity, what is the status, budget wise, of something that’s relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but seems to crystallize the way the paralysis happens in Washington? And that’s the FBI headquarters lift and shift gambit.

Mitchell Miller Right. It’s so interesting because, as you mentioned, the FBI budget really isn’t that large when you compare it to everything else, but it has become an unlikely political football over the last couple of years. Republicans continuing to say that the FBI has been weaponized in connection with various and. Nations and how its resources have been put together. And so, in this latest, group of appropriations bills, Republicans, House speaker Mike Johnson trying to at least get some kind of victory for Republicans, cited the fact that the FBI funding had actually been reduced by close to 7%. However, what did not get a lot of attention is the fact that part of the cut to the FBI was basically just due to the fact that, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama has retired, and he had included more than $600 million for an FBI facility in Alabama when there was all this discussion about where the FBI headquarters was going to be moved from D.C., where was it going to go to Virginia? Was it going to go to Maryland? Currently it is planned to go to Maryland. But right now, that money has been taken out because the senator is simply not there anymore. So, it’s kind of a ghost savings, if you will.

Tom Temin Right. Yes. I guess they would have been moving parts of the FBI to Huntsville, which is an amazingly large and diverse federal center. You know, everything from NASA to the missile command for the, you know, the Army. So, it’s would have been a good place for them, I guess.

Mitchell Miller But exactly. Well, that was the thought of Senator Shelby. And obviously, as the former head of the Appropriations Committee, he wielded a lot of power, and he was ready to jump in if Maryland and Virginia couldn’t get this decision done. And so that’s where that 600 million plus dollars came from.

Tom Temin Right. In fact, he can’t even get out of the Huntsville airport before seeing a frosted door with Richard Shelby’s name on it. Keep another office there. So, I don’t know what that will become. You know, maybe another TSA facility. Anything else we need to know about the week ahead on the Hill? I mean, what will they do now?

Mitchell Miller Well, there’s still the matter of funding for Ukraine and Israel, and there just doesn’t seem to be any way that House speaker Mike Johnson has figured out the way to put together this puzzle. He supports money for Ukraine. There seems to be bipartisan support for Ukraine. But we go back to that issue that has bedeviled both parties for a long time, and that is the issue of immigration and the southern border. And because there is no apparent ability to reach an agreement or when an agreement was reached on the border deal, then it was scotched, in part by the Republicans and former President Trump. We don’t really have any sense of where it’s going, where everybody is really saying that this is a burning fire right now, out in the international world. And yet Congress just simply doesn’t know how to address it. To get it through. Now, there is one way that it might get through. And that is another alternate proposal that does include, some issues related to the border. This is put together by a bipartisan group, led by Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. They are trying to get a discharge position, petition moved in the House. That would effectively force the hand of the House speaker to get something on to the floor. But, still, as always, a lot of questions about whether that can actually get to a vote.

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