Update of Appropriations Bills
With just nine legislative days left before the end of the end of FY19, Congress has a lot to do.
The House finished most of their appropriations bills with just the Legislative Branch and Homeland Security bills remaining. The Senate has much more work to do, having passed zero of the twelve appropriations bills so far. The markup process is underway for the bills, but an agreement to avoid poison pills in the bills has broken down as Democrats attempted to include abortion policy in the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. Despite these issues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid out his plans to get the bills passed in three parts.
First Minibus on the Floor Next Week
– Defense, Energy and Water, Labor-HHS-Education, and State and Foreign Operations
Second Group to be Marked-Up Next Week
– Agriculture-FDA, Financial Services, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD
Third Group to be Left for the Last Week of September
– Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, and Legislative Branch
The House has begun work on a continuing resolution to keep funding going past the October 1st start day of FY20. While it is not clear how long this bill would keep funding going, it is believed it could extend until November 21st. Democratic leadership has said that they will only consider a clean bill that would win bipartisan support so that it could be quickly passed. This bill or one like it will probably be necessary as it is unlikely that the House and Senate will pass all the bills before the end of September.
What it Means
While progress is being made, it is likely that a continuing resolution will be required to keep the government funded and avoid a government shutdown. The debate over the so-called poison pill in the Senate could prove to be a major challenge to passing the Labor-HHS-Education bill. Even with a potential continuing resolution, there remains many contentious issues for Congress to work through before FY20 funding is settled.
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