Latest Developments (links to bills, reports, summaries below):
New: Tuesday, 9/18: Senate adopted 93-7 the Defense-LHHS-CR Conference Report (HR 6157) an $855.1 billion FY 2019 appropriations bill that funds the departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. The Conference Report also includes a continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for agencies not funded by Sept. 30. | R-Stmt | D-Stmt
Links: Defense LHHS Conference Report FY19 | Defense LHHS Joint Statement
Hse-R-Sum/Stmt Def-Sum LHHS Sum | Hse-D-Sum | Hse-D-Stmt | Sen-R-Sum | Sen-D-Stmt: Def-Sum LHHS-Sum | Sen-R-Stmt | Sen-D-Stmt
House will consider the Defense-LHHS-CR Conference Report next week.
Overview (updated 9/18):
In general, most notable about this year’s appropriations process is the timely and bipartisan manner in which the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced all 12 appropriations bills — belying the familiar refrain that the budget process is broken. A key factor is the Senate’s 60-vote requirement to bring debate to a close.
In the House, however, the majority party can generally advance bills without minority votes. Without a procedural necessity to cooperate, along with the current partisan divides on funding levels and policy, House appropriations bills advanced largely along party lines.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported all 12 bills — with bipartisan support — and passed 9 bills on the Floor: a 3-bill minibus: EW-Leg-MilCon; a 4-bill minibus: Int-FSGG-THUD-Ag; and a 2-bill minibus: Defense-LHHS.
The House Appropriations Committee has reported all 12 bills — generally along party lines — and 6 bills passed on the Floor: Defense, as well as two minibus packages: EW-Leg-MilCon and Int-FSGG.
[Note on Minibus designations: Minibus packages were initially numbered by Senate Floor consideration. The committees are now using the order of conference report consideration, as follows:]
Minibus I [EW-Leg-MCon]: Conference report adopted by the Senate 92-5 on 9/12 and the House 377-20 on 9/13.
Minibus II [Def-LHHS-CR]: Conference report adopted by the Senate 93-7 on 9/18. House to vote next week.
Minibus III [Int-FSGG-THUD-Ag]: Conferees met Thursday 9/13; issues remain on riders; talks continuing.
Congress is on track to have at least 5 regular appropriations bills enacted by October 1 — the EW-Leg-MilConVA package (passed 9/12 by the Senate and 9/13 by the House) and the Defense-LHHS package.
If agreement can be reached on H.R. 6147, the 4-bill Int-FSGG-THUD-Ag minibus, Congress will have completed action on 9 of the 12 regular bills by October 1, leaving the remaining three bills — Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland, and State-Foreign Ops — covered by the December 7 continuing resolution. If the 4-vote package is not completed by October 1st, the CR will cover 7 of the 12 regular appropriations bills.
This return to “regular order” on appropriations measures reflects a strong bipartisan effort in the Senate, where the 60-vote rule requires bipartisan agreement to pass legislation, and a decision by House leadership to avoid a government shutdown prior to the mid-term elections.
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