Appropriations hearings for FY2000 started in January 2000 - every year can be expected to repeat the same cycle. Appropriations hearings are being scheduled. Some already have dates, times, and places set.
The first agency on seems to be the Department of Health and Human Services. The Senate does not have much scheduled yet, but it gets the award for being the earliest: On January 25, 2000, at 9:30 AM in Room SD-192, HHS will testify on Medical Errors and Patient Safety. Seems to be a good candidate for headlines and "waste" inquiries.. The House is starting its HHS hearings on February 8, 2000. The House Transportation subcommittee has announced hearings starting on February 10 and ending March 22. The public is the first one to be heard from at this subcommittee. Interior subcommittee has scheduled a February 15 start, with oversight hearings.
Obviously, the budget season is started. Those with early hearings face a compressed workload, which is exacerbated by the Congressional leadership's intent to complete business early this year. This intent will translate into an accelerated pace for all involved in the budget process.
You should watch for upcoming hearings, which may be scheduled with short notice and which may be changed on short notice. You can also expect that the materials for the record will be required on an expedited schedule. (If this schedule is not expedited, the leadership's goal of early completion of business will not be achieved.) This part of the process is described in more detail in the questions and answers page. The workload drivers and what you can do about them were discussed in the January 18, 2000 opinion. I hope you all take in stride the beginnings of the hearing and political posturing process, compounded by election year considerations. But there may be a silver lining - the 1997 caps may go away, and there will be fewer tricks.