Senate to move appropriations bills forward without budget resolution

As senators return to the Capitol after a two-week recess, they are preparing to begin drafting appropriations bills in subcommittee this month. Even without any budget resolution in the works to guide the process, senators could start acting on spending bills and beat their House colleagues to the punch. Senate aides said they anticipate initial markups of appropriations bills to begin in mid-April, a month sooner than last year's schedule. That action could begin after Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., files the topline discretionary spending levels that would guide the process in the absence of a budget resolution. Even if appropriators get an early start, the Senate has little time to do business in this year's abbreviated congressional calendar. To accommodate the presidential nominating conventions, Congress is scheduled to leave town by July 15 and won’t return until early September, when they will have less than a month before a stopgap bill would be needed to extend current funding levels.