The congressional budget act requires all authorizing legislation likely to cost money in a fiscal year to be reported by committees to the floors of House and Senate not later than the preceding May 15. In the normal course of events several dozen bills authorizing billions of dollars in federal aid programs would be pouring out of committees the next two weeks.
But working under other sections of the budget law, Congress is moving legislation to cut billions of dollars from next year's budget. It will be a month or two before the process of settling on the specific cuts is completed. And until that is done the committees won't know how much money they will have to work with.
The result is a confused situation with some committees moving along as though there will be no limit on spending and others throwing up their hands and saying there is no way they can comply with the reporting requirement.
The House and Senate Agriculture committees are writing a new four-year farm price support program and setting cost figures over what Congress seems certain to approve. As the House Agriculture Committee approved a peanut price support program well above administration proposals, Rep. Leon E. Panetta (D-Calif.), a member of both the Agriculture and Budget committees, told members they would have to cut back the bill sooner or later and should do it now so as not falsely to raise farmers' hopes of higher prices