Congress Passes FY 2012 Budget; Super Committee Failure Heralds Cuts

Federal News

In mid-December 2011, Congress passed a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government funded through September 2012, the end of the current fiscal year (FY 2012, October 2011 – September 2012). This appropriations bill provides funding that is almost level with FY 2011 spending for most domestic programs. It also set the spending level at the rate established in the Budget Control Act that was passed in August and raised the nation’s legal borrowing limit. Overall, it represents a 1.5 percent drop in spending from last year. Budget information on specific disability-related programs is available from The Arc/U.S.

In related news, the Congressional Super Committee failed to reach an agreement in November 2011 on a plan to cut the national budget deficit. This means that deeper, across the board spending cuts of $1.2 trillion will start in January 2013. Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are not included in these cuts; however, some members of Congress oppose significant funding reductions to defense programs that are required and have discussed revising that legislation to include these three entitlement programs in the mix for funding cuts. Meanwhile, other government programs that assist people who have disabilities are facing cuts, such as housing, transportation and employment.

Under sequestration, the technical term for the automatic cuts, spending for most discretionary programs and some mandatory items would be reduced about eight percent in FY 2013, advocacy groups said, citing estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.