This morning, the House Appropriations Committee passed an FY13 Interior Appropriations bill funding programs at EPA, DOI and the USDA Forest Service. Although the bill was passed today, it is not expected that there will be a vote on the bill in either the House or Senate. The most likely scenario is a continuing resolution into November.
Background information: The Interior spending bill that was voted out of the House Appropriations Committee today was drafted under top-line spending limits that passed the House earlier this year. These top-line spending limits are lower than those agreed to in the Budget Control Act (BCA) signed by the president last summer. It is unlikely today’s Interior Appropriations bill will receive a vote on the House floor given the chamber will only be in session six weeks before the end of the fiscal year and time on the floor is dedicated to other issues. The Senate is proceeding with drafting an Interior spending bill under higher top-line spending limits included in the BCA. The most likely scenario for FY13 is a continuing resolution—likely extending into November. Whether there will be an Interior Appropriations Bill (as part of likely omnibus) or another CR will likely only be determined following the election. If/when an Interior Bill passes both chambers, it is expected that the bill will be based on top-line spending levels set in the BCA which we anticipate will result in funding levels higher than those reported by the House Appropriations Committee today.