Construction Faces a Fight for Fiscal Year 2014 Dollars

Now that Congress has approved a budget bill that includes a sizable spending hike for the rest of fiscal year 2014, construction industry officials will gear up to battle with advocates for a wide range of other interests for a share of those dollars.
The budget bill—the result of a deal between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.)—won final congressional approval on Dec. 18, when the Senate passed it on a 64-36 vote. The House cleared the measure six days earlier by a wide margin.
The immediate next focus is the measure's $44.5-billion hike in overall 2014 discretionary spending. The bill split that sum between the broad defense and nondefense sectors, but provided no line-item details. It will be up to the appropriations committees to allocate those funds among the many federal construction and nonconstruction programs. The appropriations panels' chairpersons, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), want to produce a final 2014 spending bill by Jan. 15, when a current stopgap measure expires.