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On December 18, the Senate voted 64-36to approve the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA), legislation setting overall spending levels for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015. The BBA was approved in the House last week. The measure now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
Brokered by Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), the BBA sets overall spending at $1.012 trillion in FY 2014 and $1.014 trillion in FY 2015. Earlier budget resolutions passed in the House and Senate set spending at $967 billion and $1.058 trillion, respectively. The agreement also provides $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, which is divided evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. The agreement is front-loaded with about $45 billion in sequester relief coming in 2014, undoing nearly two-thirds of the NDD sequester, but then nearly three-quarters of the planned NDD sequester cuts will go back into effect in 2015.
Though far from perfect, this agreement will restore order to the federal budget and appropriations process, and allow for some much needed reinvestment in our nation’s eroding domestic priorities. The BBA also gives Congress additional time to find an alternative permanent solution to fully eliminate sequestration in the remaining years. Unfortunately, the BBA did not include an extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, which is set to expire on December 28.
See NSC’s earlier post for more details on the scope of the budget agreement.
National Skills Coalition supports the BBA, and applauds members of Congress for working in a bipartisan manner to produce a budget agreement. However, Congress and the Administration still must find a long-term solution to sequestration that does not inflict further damage on non-defense discretionary programs, including programs that build the skills of America’s workers. NSC will continue to weigh in with policymakers on sequestration and other funding issues.