Unclear outlook for Title XI
The Shipbuilders Council of America reports in the July Shipyard Chronicle that House and Senate Appropriators have received their 302(b) allocations for Fiscal 2003 appropriations bills.
The 302(b) allocations set discretionary spending limits for each spending bill. The House discretionary spending limit for the Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary bill is $40.3 billion, some $393 million below the President's request, which did not include any new funds for the Title XI Shipbuilding Loan Guarantee program. The low allocation coupled with the President's request for no new Title XI loan guarantee funds does not bode well for the program in the House spending bill.
On the other hand, the Senate's 302(b) allocation for Commerce, Justice, State is $43.48 billion, $2.6 billion above the President's request. Historically, the Senate has appropriated funds for the Title XI program at levels significantly higher than the House.
Differences in House and Senate spending limits will likely create an end of the year log jam, perhaps, even creating the need for a lame duck session of Congress to finalize Fiscal 2003 spending bills. Mark ups have not been scheduled in the House or Senate Appropriation Committees' Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary subcommittees.