The Buzz

Jenkins, Huelskamp spar over biolab funding

Two members of Congress from Kansas are squabbling over the House-passed budget bill, and what it means for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, known as NBAF.

As usual, both members are shading reality a bit.

Last week Rep.

Lynn Jenkins Paul Ryan

budget compromise because it included $404 million for the federal share of the lab, now under construction in Manhattan.

Nonsense, said Rep.

Tim Huelskamp

, who voted against the deal. The budget agreement contains no spending for NBAF.

It’s true the budget deal contains no direct spending for NBAF. That’s left up to House and Senate appropriators, who still haven’t passed the Homeland Security spending bill for this year.

But the NBAF spending this year depends on passage of the Ryan budget, or something like it.

Without a budget agreement, experts say

, Congress will simply pass a continuing resolution at old sequester levels. If that happens, NBAF funding this year would likely be impossible.

The House spending bill for Homeland Security contains NBAF spending. The Senate hasn’t voted on a bill yet, and there is no conference committee yet in place.

So the Ryan budget deal doesn’t fund NBAF, but killing it would almost certainly have the effect of de-funding the project this year.

Also unanswered: why deficit super-hawk Huelskamp supports the $404 million for NBAF in the first place.