BUDGET DIGEST: Update: Status of FY2021 Appropriations Bills

Last week the House passed H.R. 7608,[1] an appropriations minibus that included four of the 12 discretionary spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021. This week the House will consider H.R. 7617, a second minibus that includes seven additional appropriations bills for FY 2021: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. After this week the only appropriations bill yet to be considered on the House Floor for FY 2021 will be the Legislative Branch appropriations bill.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (BBA 2019) established the topline, base discretionary spending level for the appropriations bills for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Commonly referred to as the 302(a) allocation, the caps-constrained appropriations spending level for FY 2021 is $1.298 trillion. Earlier this month, the Appropriations Committee released its sub-allocations, known as 302(b)s, for each of the 12 spending bills.

Cap Adjustments. The BBA 2019 included a mechanism, called cap adjustments, to fund specific programs above—or outside of—the spending caps. The current cap adjustments in law include the following: Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), emergency funding, program integrity efforts, disaster relief, wildfire suppression efforts, and the 2020 census.

The attached table illustrates both base and cap-adjusted spending in H.R. 7617 as reported out of the Appropriations Committee. Combined, the two minibus appropriations bills (H.R. 7608 and H.R. 7617) include $334 billion in spending outside of the BBA 2019 spending caps for FY 2021.

[1] Please see Budget Digest dated July 21, 2020.