Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Concept_DC_Capitol Building

Appropriations Watch: FY 2022

Dec 1, 2021 | Other Spending

Updated 12/1/21: The House may consider another FY 2022 continuing resolution as early as Wednesday, Dec. 1. Congress must either complete appropriations work or pass another continuing resolution by the end of the night of Dec. 3. 

The Senate released its remaining appropriations bills on Monday, Oct. 18, setting the stage for negotiations with the House on an end-of-the-year spending bill. The House has passed nine out of the 12 appropriations bills. 

The Senate passed a so-called "clean" continuing resolution on Thursday, Sept. 30, and the House cleared it for the President later in the day to avert a government shutdown at the end of the night. The President signed it into law that same night. The House had previously passed two separate bills addressing government funding: a CR that provided appropriations through Dec. 3 and suspended the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022, and a bill that would provide $1 billion for the Iron Dome missile system in Israel. The Senate had failed to advance the House-passed combined CR and debt limit suspension under a cloture vote on Monday, Sept. 27, as well as under a unanimous consent request on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Congress started marking up individual appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 in June. Discretionary spending levels are no longer subject to caps, as they were for the 10 years between FY 2012 and FY 2021. The Biden Administration released its full FY 2022 budget with a discretionary funding request of $1.522 trillion, 8.6 percent more than the FY 2021 level.

Congress is supposed to complete a budget resolution to lay out fiscal principles and set an appropriations level by April 15, but lawmakers did not adopt one until August. Lawmakers instead used a procedure known as "deeming," allowing the Appropriations Committees to begin their work assuming adherence to an overall discretionary spending level known as a 302(a).

The House adopted a deeming resolution on June 14, and leaders subsequently scheduled markups for all 12 appropriations bills. The Senate did not move on a deeming resolution and did not begin scheduling markups until August; Senate Republicans have called for parity between increases in non-defense and defense spending.

In August, Congress passed a budget resolution that triggers the use of reconciliation to advance policy priorities such as tax credits for workers and families, expansion of certain health care programs, and investment in education. The Senate Budget Committee filed a 302(a) allocation in September, and the Senate Appropriations Committee released its completed slate of appropriations bills with corresponding 302(b) levels in October.

As we did last year, we'll be tracking the bills as they move from committee to the House and Senate floor and onto the President's desk.

The table below shows the status of each appropriations bill. To learn more about the appropriations process, read our Appropriations 101 report. 

Appropriations will be one of several deadlines Congress will face over the coming months. See a list of the upcoming fiscal deadlines here.

Item House Senate
Iron Dome Supplemental Passed the House on Sept. 23 by a 420-9 vote under suspension of the rules N/A
Continuing Resolution Through 12/3/2021 Without Debt Limit Passed by a 254-175 vote on Sept. 30 Passed by a 65-35 vote on Sept. 30
Continuing Resolution Through 12/3/2021 Including Debt Limit Passed by the House on Sept. 21 by a 220-211 vote Failed in cloture vote of 48-50 on Sept. 27
Unanimous consent request denied on Sept. 28
Budget Resolution Passed by the House on August 24 Passed by the Senate on August 11
302(b) Approved by full committee on June 29 by a vote of 33 to 25 N/A
Agriculture Approved by subcommittee on June 25 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 30 by voice vote
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Approved by subcommittee on August 2
Approved by full committee on August 4 by a 25-5 vote
Commerce, Justice, Science Approved by subcommittee on July 12 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 15 by a vote of 33 to 26
House passed rule for bill on July 28 but did not complete consideration
Released on October 18
Defense  Approved by subcommittee on June 30 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 13 by a 33 to 23 vote
Released on October 18
Energy and Water Development Approved by subcommittee on July 12 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 16 by a 33 to 24 vote
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Approved by full committee on August 4 by a 25-5 vote
Financial Services and General Government Approved by subcommittee on June 24 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June 29 by a vote of 33 to 24
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Released on October 18
Homeland Security Approved by subcommittee on June 30 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 13 by a vote of 33 to 24
Released on October 18
Interior, Environment Approved by subcommittee by voice vote on June 28
Approved by full committee on July 1 by a 32 to 24 vote
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Released on October 18
Labor, HHS, Education Approved by subcommittee on July 12 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 15 by a vote of 33 to 25
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Released on October 18
Legislative Branch Approved by subcommittee on June 24 by voice vote
Approved by full committee markup on June 29 by a vote of 33 to 25
Passed by House on July 28 by a 215-207 vote
Released on October 18
Military Construction, VA Approved by subcommittee on June 25 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on June by a 33 to 24 vote
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Approved by full committee on August 4 by a 25-5 vote
State, Foreign Operations Approved by subcommittee on June 28 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 1 by a vote of 32 to 25
Passed by House on July 28 by a 217-212 vote
Released on October 18
Transportation, HUD Approved by subcommittee on July 12 by voice vote
Approved by full committee on July 16 by a 33 to 24 vote
Passed by the House on July 29 as part of seven-bill minibus by a 219-208 vote
Released on October 18

Sources: House Appropriations Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress.gov. All dates are in 2021 unless noted otherwise.

As we explain in Appropriations 101, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approve 302(b) spending levels for each subcommittee after the topline 302(a) levels are determined by the Budget Committees. Below is an excerpt (click here to read the full report).

How does Congress determine the total level of appropriations?

After the President submits the Administration’s budget proposal to Congress, the House and Senate Budget Committees are each directed to report a budget resolution that, if passed by their respective houses, would then be reconciled in a budget conference (see Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About a Budget Conference).

The resulting budget resolution, which is a concurrent resolution and therefore not signed by the President, includes what is known as a 302(a) allocation that sets a total amount of money for the Appropriations Committees to spend. For example, the conferenced budget between the House and Senate set the 302(a) limit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 at $1.017 trillion.

In the absence of a budget resolution, each chamber may enact a deeming resolution that sets the 302(a) allocation for that chamber. Both the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA18) and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (BBA19) gave the Chairs of the Budget Committees authority to set the 302(a) allocation for the Appropriations Committees at the statutory discretionary spending cap levels set by those budget deals for four consecutive fiscal years, including at $1.298 trillion for the current fiscal year (FY 2021).

Discretionary spending has been subject to statutory spending caps since FY 2012, though the current fiscal year will be the last those caps will be in effect. The Budget Control Act of 2011 set discretionary caps through the end of FY 2021, which have been modified by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019.

How will this year's appropriations process be different?

Discretionary spending levels for FY 2022 and future years will no longer be limited by the caps specified under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees now essentially have the power to set the overall appropriations amount, determined by the 302(a) allocation, at whatever level they consider necessary to cover all the priorities that are funded by the discretionary budget.

The discretionary spending level lawmakers choose for FY 2022 could shape the trajectory of spending for the next decade. Discretionary funding is expected to grow each year, but the extent of that growth could be constrained with a new agreement on spending caps. Agreement on future discretionary spending could also improve the budget process, leading to more timely enactment of legislation.

How does Congress allocate appropriations?

Once they receive 302(a) allocations, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees set 302(b) allocations to divide total appropriations among the 12 subcommittees dealing with different parts of the budget. The subcommittees then decide how to distribute funds within their 302(b) allocations. The 302(b) allocations are voted on by the respective Appropriations Committees, but they are not subject to review or vote by the full House or Senate. The table below lists the FY 2021 regular (non-war, non-disaster) appropriations along with the House and Senate FY 2022 302(b) allocations.  The table will be regularly updated as both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees release their 302(b) allocations.

The table below compares actual funding for FY 2021 with the FY 2022 302(b) allocations from the House and Senate. 

Budget Authority Allocations to Appropriations Subcommittees (billions)
Subcommittee FY 21 Enacted Level President's FY 22 Budget House FY 22 Senate FY 22
Agriculture $23.4 $26.8 $26.6 $25.9
Commerce, Justice, Science $71.1 N/A $81.3 $79.7
Defense $627.3 $715.0 $705.9 $725.8
Energy and Water Development $49.5 $53.6 $53.2 $53.6
Financial Services and General Government $24.4 $29.5 $28.5 $29.4
Homeland Security $51.9 $71.8 $52.8 $71.7
Interior, Environment $36.1 N/A $43.4 $44.6
Labor, HHS, Education $174.1 $226.6 $237.5 $220.8
Legislative Branch $5.3 $5.8 $6.0 $5.9
Military Construction, VA $112.8 $125.5 $124.5 $124.4
State, Foreign Operations $47.5 $62.3 $62.2 $60.6
Transportation, HUD $74.7 $82.9 $84.1 $82.9
Total $1.298 trillion* $1.522 trillion $1.506 trillion^ $1.498 trillion#

Sources: House Appropriations Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, CBO estimate of H.R. 133, Office of Management and Budget, Congressional Record

*In addition to base discretionary appropriations provided in the table, final FY 2021 spending measures also included a total of $77 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations spending, $68.65 billion of which is designated for the Department of Defense, $8 billion of which is designated for the Department of State, and $350 million of which is designated for military construction. Including OCO funds, disaster relief, emergency requirements, and program integrity, FY 2021 spending measures provided $1.616 trillion in budget authority.

^According to the House Budget Committee, the deeming resolution incorporates certain technical and scorekeeping adjustments to translate the topline appropriations number from the President's budget request into a formal 302(a) allocation. The House deeming resolution provides for $1.506 trillion in regular appropriations for FY 2022 subject to 302(b)s, but all 12 appropriations bills are expected to total the administration request of $1.522 trillion once technical adjustments are considered.

#The Senate filed its 302(a) allocation on Thursday, Sept. 23. The FY 2022 budget resolution, which was adopted after the House deeming resolution that set the chamber's 302(a) allocation, provided for a roughly $7.6 billion adjustment for VA health care beyond the regulary discretionary spending limits. Because the Senate 302(a) allocation accounts for this adjustment, the effective discretionary totals are expected to be substantially the same.

As Congress considers appropriations bills, it is important that lawmakers avoid budget gimmicks and stick to the discretionary funding limits in current law until and unless they can agree on a fiscally responsible plan to amend the caps.

If you have any questions about terminology or the appropriations process, please see our Appropriations 101 report, and stay tuned to our blog for continuing coverage.