Senate appropriators approve first bill, with no budget in sight

Senate appropriators approve first bill, with no budget in sight
© Greg Nash

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved its first spending bill for the 2018 fiscal year, despite the fact that no budget numbers have been set by the Budget Committee.

Under normal order, the budget committee of each chamber is meant to produce top-line spending figures before the appropriators dole out the funds to various agencies and programs. 

Neither the House nor Senate budget panels have approved their budget resolutions for the 2018 spending year, which begins in October.

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On the House side, appropriators have moved forward based on an informal agreement on where the budget numbers will fall, and they plan to finish all appropriations work by next Wednesday.

House appropriators have been operating under an informal understanding that the Budget Committee will allocate roughly $621 billion to defense and $511 billion to all other discretionary spending.

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill that the Senate committee approved unanimously Thursday came to $88.9 billion, similar to the $88.8 billion that the House version has approved.