FY17 Appropriations and Gun Control Update – June 24, 2017

Gun Control

The mass shooting in Orlando, Florida reignited the debate over gun control in the House and Senate. On the House side, Democrats took control of the House floor Wednesday morning and disrupted floor consideration of the FY17 Financial Services spending bill with a sit-in while demanding action on gun control legislation before the recess. Democrats wanted votes on bills that would ban people on the terrorism watch list from buying guns and would tighten background checks. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) refused to allow a floor vote and called for a motion to adjourn that passed on a party line vote of 234 to 173 with one Republican (Dold) voting against the motion.

On the Senate side, the Senate voted on four gun control amendments early in the week, and as expected, none garnered the 60 “yea” votes needed to proceed. The amendments were as follows:

Amendment 1: Offered by Sen. Grassley (R-IA)

Vote 53 – 47

The amendment proposed tightening up and pushing more resources to improve the availability of records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, but did not expand it. Currently background checks are only required by federally licensed firearm dealers. Sales online, at gun shows, or from friends/relatives are exempt from background checks.

Amendment 2: Offered by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Vote 44 – 56

The amendment proposed expanding mandatory background checks to all gun sales (online, gun shows, and private sales).

Amendment 3: Offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Vote 53 – 47

The amendment would prevent sales of guns to suspected terrorists if a judge found probable cause that the person trying to buy the gun is involved in terrorist activities (in other words, requiring a court order for a gun sale to be blocked). The government would have to prove that a would-be gun purchaser on an FBI terrorist watch list does have ties to terrorism to block the sale of the gun.

Amendment 4: Offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Vote 47 – 53

The amendment would have empowered the Attorney General at the Department of Justice to block sales of guns to people who are on terrorist watch lists, then let them challenge the denial later.

Later in the week, the Senate considered a bipartisan amendment offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would restrict gun purchases for those on the no-fly list, but allow those denied purchasing a gun the right to appeal in court with their legal fees paid if they win. The amendment was endorsed by Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and would have done the following:

  1. Give the Attorney General (AG) the authority to deny firearms sales to individuals who appear on the No Fly List or the Selectee List (people who can fly but must receive additional screening before boarding a plane).
  2. Provide a process for Americans and green card holders to appeal a denial in U.S. Court of Appeals and to recover their reasonable attorneys fees if they prevail.
  3. Set forth a procedure for protecting classified information during the appeal.
  4. Protect ongoing FBI counter-terrorism investigations by giving the AG the discretion to allow gun sales to go forward to individuals covered by this Act.
  5. Include a “look-back” provision that ensures prompt notification to the FBI if a person who has been on the broader Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) within the past five years purchases a firearm.

Cosponsors of the amendment included:


Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)


Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Sen. Angus King (I-ME)


Collins’ amendment received 52 votes in favor in a test vote (52 voted against a motion to table). It is unclear right now if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will put the amendment to a real vote. The Senate also voted on an amendment offered by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) that was intended to be more palatable to Republicans. The amendment was tabled by a vote of 67 to 31. It would have authorized the Attorney General to delay or deny the transfer of firearms and explosives and issuance of Federal firearms and explosives licenses and permits to known or suspected terrorists.

FY17 Appropriations

Both the House and Senate are beginning to acknowledge that a stopgap funding mechanism for some or all of the FY17 spending measures will be necessary in order to avoid a government shutdown beginning Oct. 1. House Democrats are advocating for a stopgap that doesn’t extend beyond December, while some Republicans are looking to extend it into next year.



Before the Democratic sit-in disrupted the House floor action on the FY17 Financial Services spending bill, House Republicans began asking members to commit their support for appropriations bills if their amendments were adopted. They defended their new approach as an effort to ensure that Democrats aren’t offering amendments to sabotage the annual spending bills. Democrats argued that they cannot be expected to support a bill’s final passage just because they get an amendment accepted. The House was slated to consider as many as 70 amendments to the FY17 Financial Services spending bill before the disruption. Consideration may resume when the House returns July 5.

House FY17 Financial Services Appropriations Bill Text:


House FY17 Financial Services Appropriations Report Language:


Amendments Offered:


White House Statement of Administration Policy:


Homeland Security

The House Appropriations Committee marked up its $41.1B Homeland Security Appropriations bill this week and reported it out by voice vote. The bill provides an increase of $100M above the FY16 enacted level and $432M above the President’s FY17 budget request. In addition, the bill includes $7.3 billion – the same as the President’s request – for disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).The committee had postponed the full committee markup for a week after the Orlando shooting giving them time to propose changes in light of the incident.

The following amendments to the bill were approved by the full committee today:

  • Carter – The amendment made technical and other noncontroversial changes and additions to the report. The Manager’s amendment also includes an additional $49 million for the FEMA “Countering Violent Extremism/Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks” state and local grant program, and requires the Secretary to submit a report on the assessment used by DHS to determine grant allocations to high-risk urban areas.  The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Aderholt – The amendment restates current law prohibiting federal funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide for abortions, except in certain life-threatening cases, rape, and incest. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 29-15.
  • Harris – The amendment allows returning non-agriculture temporary workers (H2B workers) who have previously been a part of the program in the prior three years to not be counted towards the FY17 H2B cap. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Culberson– The amendment requires ICE to detain Priority 1 and Priority 2 illegal aliens. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Amodei – The amendment adds bill language to expand the Public Private Partnership program – allowing up to five ports of entry to pay the salaries of up to five Customs and Border Protection officers. Current law only allows for overtime to be paid. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

During the markup, House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) offered an amendment banning gun sales to people on the terror watch list. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 16 to 31.

House FY17 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Text:


House FY17 Homeland Security Appropriations Report Language:


House FY17 Homeland Security Appropriations Summary:


State Foreign Operations

The House State Foreign Operations Appropriations Committee postponed marking up its $52B FY17 spending bill on Thursday after the Democrats’ sit-in on the House floor.

House FY17 State Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Text:


House FY17 State Foreign Operations Appropriations Summary:




The Senate began consideration of its $56.3B FY17 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill on the Senate floor this week but did not complete action. In addition to the gun control amendments mentioned above, the Senate voted on a controversial amendment offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would give the Federal Bureau of Investigation the authority to access a person’s internet browsing history, email account data, and other communications without a warrant in an attempt to identify “lone wolf attackers” like the Orlando shooter who killed 49 people. The Senate may resume consideration of the measure next week.

Senate FY17 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill Text:


Senate FY17 Commerce, Justice, Science Report Language:


FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Zika Virus Funding Conference Agreement

Republican House and Senate conferees on the FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Zika Virus emergency spending bill reached agreement on a conference report this week. The House voted on the conference measure early Thursday morning and passed it by a vote of 239 to 171 with two Republicans (Amash and Buck) voting against the bill and six Democrats (Ashford, Cuellar, McNerney, Peters, Peterson, and Sinema) voting for it. The legislation now heads to the Senate where Senate Democrats are saying there won’t be the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture. Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said that she would not support the conference report because of the limitations the bill places on birth control services as well as the inclusion of a pesticides policy rider. A cloture vote is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28. Even if the Senate passes the conference report, White House aides said that the President would veto the measure over objections to its offsets, restrictions on contraceptive services, and rolling back of certain clean-water protections.

The Conference Report includes $1.1B for domestic and international efforts to fight the Zika virus and prevent it from spreading. The $750M in offsets come from $107M in unspent Ebola funds, $100M in in unspent HHS funds, and $543M in funds that were slated for health exchanges in U.S. territories that were never set up.

Conference Bill text:


Joint Explanatory Statement:


House Zika Virus Summary:


House MilCon-VA Summary:


Senate Majority Summary:


Subcommittee House Senate
Agriculture Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

Subcommittee: May 17

Full Committee: May 19

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: May 18

Full Committee: May 24

Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

Floor: Week of June 27

Defense Subcommittee: May 11

Full Committee: May 17

Floor: June 16

Subcommittee: May 24

Full Committee: May 26

Energy & Water Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

Floor: Pulled after voted down

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

Floor: May 12

Financial Services Subcommittee: May 25

Full Committee: June 9

Floor: Pulled after Democrat sit-in for gun control

Subcommittee: June 15

Full Committee: June 16

Homeland Security Subcommittee: June 9

Full Committee: June 22

Subcommittee: May 24

Full Committee: May 26

Interior Subcommittee: May 25

Full Committee: June 15

Subcommittee: June 14

Full Committee: June 16

Labor HHS Education   Subcommittee: June 7

Full Committee: June 9

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 20

Full Committee: May 17

Floor: June 10

Full Committee: May 19
Military Construction – Veterans Affairs Subcommittee: March 22

Full Committee: April 13

Floor: May 19

Conference: June 23

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

Floor: May 19

Conference: Week of June 27

State Foreign Operations Subcommittee: Postponed Subcommittee: June 28

Full Committee: June 30

Transportation HUD Subcommittee: May 18

Full Committee: May 24

Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

Floor: May 19


FY16 vs. FY17 302(b) Allocations

  FY16 302(b) FY17 House 302(b) FY17 Senate 302(b)
Agriculture $21.75B $21.3B $21.2B
Commerce Justice Science $55.7B $56B $56.3B
Defense* $572.7B $575.7B $572.7B
Energy & Water $37.2B $37.4B $37.5B
Financial Services $23.2B $21.7B $22.4B
Homeland Security* $41.12B $41.1B $41.2B
Interior $32.16B $32.095B $32.03B
Labor HHS Education $162.1B   $161.9B
Legislative Branch $4.37B $3.48B

(excludes Senate only items)

Military Construction/VA* $79.9B $81.6B $83B
State Foreign Ops* $52.68B   $52.1B
Transportation HUD $57.6B $58.2B $56.5B

*Includes Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.


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