Latest Developments (links to bills, reports, summaries below):
DoD–LHHS–CR: House Rules Committee met on Tuesday 9/25 and reported a rule (H.Res. 1077) for House consideration — later this week — of the DoD-LHHS conference report (HR 6157) an $855.1 billion FY 2019 appropriations bill that funds the departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and Health & Human Services. The Conference Report also includes a continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for agencies not funded by Sept. 30. Links: Defense-LHHS-CR Conference Report FY19 | Jt Stm | Hse-R-Sum/Stmt Defense-Sum LHHS Sum | Hse-D-Sum | Hse-D-Stmt | Sen-R-Sum | Sen-D-Stmt: Defense-Sum LHHS-Sum
Disaster Aid: House will also vote this week on Hurricane Florence aid as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (HR 302) providing $1.68 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster recovery programs at HUD to rebuild housing, infrastructure, and assist local businesses. | R-Stmt | D-Stmt
IntEnv–FSGG–THUD–AG (HR 6147, the 4-bill minibus): Senate Appropriations Comm. Chairman Shelby said Monday, “Our staffs have been working and trying to see if they can resolve this. This is a pivotal week for that. We hope we can do it. It depends on the House. We’ve got offers and counter offers.” Time is limited because the House adjourns this Friday to campaign for midterm elections and FY 2019 begins next Monday, October 1. If agreement is not reached, agencies covered by the four bills, as well as agencies covered by the C-J-S, H-Sec, and State-FOps bills will be covered by the Dec. 7 continuing resolution.
EW–LEG–MilConVA: President signed the EW-LEG-MilConVA conference report (HR 5895) last Friday. | R-Stmt | D-Stmt | Conf.Rpt | Jt Stmt | The $147 billion measure covers the Dept. of Energy, Bureau of Reclamation, and Army Corps of Engineers; Congress and legislative branch agencies (LoC, CBO, GAO, GPO, AoC); and Dept. of Veterans Affairs, military construction and housing projects.
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 that incentivizes bipartisan negotiation and cooperation.
In the House, however, the majority party can generally advance bills without minority votes. Without a procedural necessity for bipartisan negotiations, along with the current partisan divides on funding levels and policy riders, House appropriations bills advanced largely along party lines.
The Senate Appropriations Committee 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 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.
Status and Outlook:
[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 signed by President 9/21. (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 this week. Includes continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for agencies not funded by Sept. 30.
Minibus III [Int-FSGG-THUD-Ag]: Senate Appropriations Comm. Chairman Shelby said Monday, 9/24, “Our staffs have been working and trying to see if they can resolve this. This is a pivotal week for that. We hope we can do it. It depends on the House. We’ve got offers and counter offers.”
Congress is on track to have 5 regular appropriations bills enacted by October 1 — the EW-Leg-MilConVA package (signed by the President on 9/21; and the Defense-LHHS-CR package passed by the Senate on 9/18 and scheduled for a House vote this week.
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.
Either way, this is the largest number of appropriations bills finished by start of the fiscal year since 1997.
This return toward “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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