Late last night, Congressional leadership and the White House reached a tentative agreement to pass both a suspension to the debt limit and a two-year budget deal.
According to a discussion draft of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) posted by House Republicans, the debt limit suspension would last through March 15, 2017 and the budget would raise sequestration-level budget caps by $80 million through FY 2017. The bill would set Nondefense Discretionary (NDD) spending at $518.4 billion, about 5% higher than FY 2014 and FY 2015 budget levels.
The agreement will still need to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed by the President. The House is expected to begin voting on Wednesday, October 28.
The budget deal would raise caps on NDD spending at the same rates as Defense spending. This agreement comes after a letter circulated by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Chris Van Hollen, and Adam Smith last week, supported by NSC, acknowledging deep cuts NDD programs have suffered in the past few years and calling for this parity in sequestration relief.
After passage of this budget deal and debt limit increase, NSC will continue to monitor the process as appropriators will move to set specific spending levels for all 12 appropriations bills, known as 302(b) allocations, possibly through an omnibus combining all 12 allocations. Current appropriation levels are set through the current Continuing Resolution (CR), which will last through December 11, 2015. We expect to see workforce programs’ funding levels at FY 2015 and the current CR levels.
The President is expected to sign the budget deal and debt limit suspension before the debt limit is reached on November 3rd.