Debt Ceiling Limits Should Be Followed in Setting 2012 Spending, Republican Leaders Say

Several key Republican leaders recently have indicated Congress should adhere to the spending limits included in last month’s agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as lawmakers tackle the 12 spending bills needed to fund the federal government in fiscal 2012.

That support will be critical in passing spending bills and avoiding the eleventh hour histrionics relied on in April to keep the government running as many rank-and-file House Republicans may approach negotiations over next year’s appropriations as a new opportunity to pare the federal budget.

The problem for House leaders is that while the debt deal requires cutting $21 billion in spending in FY 2012 — as the first part of a measure trimming $917 billion over the next decade — the chamber’s budget resolution calls for even greater spending cuts next year.

Nevertheless, support from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to adopt the debt deal’s spending limit provides some optimism that FY 2012 spending measures can be enacted without bringing the government to the precipice of another shutdown, reported the Washington Post.

“I believe it is in our interest to enact into law full-year appropriations bills at this new lower level,” Cantor wrote last month in a memo urging House members to adopt the limits included in the agreement over the nation’s borrowing limit.

Still, no one expects that Congress will complete most, or even some, of its work on appropriations bills by Oct. 1. House leaders already have decided not to bring any individual spending bills to the floor this month. That move means it is likely no individual spending measures will be approved for FY 2012 outside of an omnibus, CQ Today reported last week.

As a result, both chambers will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution this month.


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