Quick Hit – September 15, 2018

Appropriations Update: GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN? Maybe not this year!

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) after passage of first appropriations minibus conference report for H.R. 5895 (Photo: Alabama Political Reporter)

FY19 Appropriations

Appropriations Committee leadership has deployed a clever strategy to break what could have been a massive, and widely disparaged “Omnibus,” into three “minibus” packages. Each minibus is designed to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats in the run up to the election. 9 of 12 appropriations bills are near-ready, a faster pace than seen in over ten years!

FY 2019 Defense and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus

Thursday, Congress made positive movement on two major minibus spending packages that will fund the government through the next fiscal year. Most significantly, the conference report for the FY 2019 Defense and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus (H.R. 6157) was agreed to, including a stopgap measure that would fund govt. through Dec. 7. This minibus is huge: the spending package combines funding for almost 70 percent of FY19 federal discretionary spending. It provides major procurement wins for shipbuilding and aircraft, as well as funding under a single contract for two Ford-class aircraft carriers, boosts research on hypersonics, and prevents Transfers of F-35s to Turkey.

NEXT STEPS: More conservative Republicans are lamenting the lack of Republican policy riders in the domestic portion of the package, but the minibus is expected to pass both chambers when they return from a brief recess the week of September 24th.

FY 2019 Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch, and MilCon-VA Appropriations Minibus

Thursday, the House also passed the conference report to the FY 2019 Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch, and MilCon-VA Appropriations Minibus (H.R. 5895) by a large margin of 377-20. The bill makes up roughly a little more than 10 percent of federal discretionary spending for FY19, and includes the aspect of the Pentagon’s budget that deals with military construction.

NEXT STEPS: The House has cleared the minibus for the President’s signature and so it awaits approval by the President.

The Bottom Line: Congress is making a proactive effort to make sure the government does not shut down and is fully funded for FY19, using this objective to garner bipartisan support to pass the appropriations minibuses. Of note, the Homeland Security appropriations bill has not been included in the three minibuses and remains a wild card pending an agreement with President Trump on funding his high priority border wall.

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