In addition to the open amendment process for consideration of the fiscal year 2012 homeland appropriations bill, the rule also contains language to put temporary budget enforcement mechanisms in place. This will allow the House to continue to consider the FY 2012 appropriations bills, even though the Senate has failed to act on a budget of its own.
This necessary step, which has been employed by both parties in the past, puts in place the budget levels required by the Budget Act to provide for limitations on spending in the absence of a final budget deal between the House and Senate. It is important to remember that these "allocations" are only temporary; if the Senate takes the step of passing a budget of its own and the House and Senate agree to a conference report, these temporary levels are replaced by the final agreed upon spending levels.
Some are asserting that it is the Senate’s failure to approve the House-passed budget that makes this step necessary. That is not the case. The reality is that the Senate Majority has not offered its own budget proposal and therefore, a joint agreement containing budget enforcement authority has been impossible to reach. In the absence of Senate action, the House has no choice but to proceed. While previous Majorities may have been content to not approve a budget or any appropriations bills, the current Republican Majority is not. The House must take this essential step in order to proceed with its constitutional responsibility of passing appropriations bills and most important, getting our fiscal house in order.