House and Senate Conference Three FY19 Appropriations Minibuses

The House is scheduled to be in session only seven more days before the fiscal year ends on September 30. The Senate has passed nine of its 12 annual spending bills, while the House has passed six. Their challenge is to craft bills that can get the Democratic support they need to pass the Senate while not losing too many conservatives in the House. The House and Senate have both said they are prepared to bring three minibus packages to the floor this month. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the three minibus packages would be brought to the floor separate from the continuing resolution.

Energy & Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to pass the Energy & Water, Military Construction-VA, and Legislative Branch appropriations conference report minibus spending package this month. Conferees worked this week to resolve disputes over several policy riders. An agreement is imminent according to conferees, and the measure may be on the House floor next week. The Military Construction-VA and Legislative Branch sections of the minibus were locked down earlier this week. Conferees are negotiating some final technical details and resolving some lingering disputes for the Energy & Water portion of the bill. The conference report could be released as late as Sunday and still meet the 72-hour requirement in the House to have it on the floor by Wednesday when the House reconvenes after a brief break for Rosh Hashana.

Defense, Labor HHS Education

The House approved by voice vote a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the $675B defense appropriations bill. The House named 13 conferees for the spending package, including the chairs and ranking members of the full committee, Defense Subcommittee, and Labor HHS Education Subcommittee – Reps. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Granger (R-TX), Cole (R-OK), Calvert (R-CA), Womack (R-AR), Aderholt (R-AL), Rogers (R-KY), Roby, (R-AL), Lowey (D-NY), Visclosky (D-IN), DeLauro (D-CT), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and McCollum (D-MN). The Senate also appointed the chairs and ranking members: Shelby (R-AL), Blunt (R-MO), Graham (R-SC), Moran (R-KS), Durbin (D-IL), Murray (D-WA), and Leahy (D-VT).

House Republicans would like to pass the Defense spending bill before the new fiscal year, but it was combined with the Labor HHS Education bill in the Senate. Senators on both sides of the aisle want to keep the two bills together. The House Labor HHS Education bill has numerous controversial policy riders, which is why it hasn’t been brought to the House floor yet. House Labor HHS Education Appropriations subcommittee ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said her Republican counterparts had conceded to a $2B increase for the Labor HHS Education bill, which would align the House bill more closely with the Senate bill. Conservatives in the House may oppose this funding increase.

Conferees met on Thursday and are expected to report any remaining open issues to the full committee today. House Defense Appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) said that the conference could be wrapped up this week.

Interior Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation HUD

The House minibus includes the Interior Environment and Financial Services bills, while the Senate minibus also included the Agriculture and Transportation HUD spending bills. The House has not considered the Agriculture and Transportation HUD spending bills on the floor. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that they are still hoping to complete work on this minibus appropriations package. The House appointed the following conferees: Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Aderholt (R-AL), Simpson (R-ID), Cole (R-OK), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Graves (R-GA), Young (R-IA), Rutherford (R-FL), Lowey (D-NY), Price (D-NC), Bishop (D-GA), McCollum (D-MN), Quigley (D-IL), and Pingree (D-ME). The Senate appointed the following conferees: Murkowski (R-AK), Collins (R-ME), Lankford (R-OK), Hoeven (R-ND), Shelby (R-AL), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Udall (D-NM), Reed (D-RI), Coons (D-DE), Merkley (D-OR), and Leahy (D-VT). Conferees met this week and, while the meeting was considered productive, they reported that they have several big issues to work out.House Transportation HUD Appropriations subcommittee chairman Diaz-Balart (R-FL) said yesterday that he is not sure the THUD bill is going to be part of the package that becomes law.

Continuing Resolution

The remaining spending bills not conferenced and passed would require a continuing resolution (CR) to fund them beginning October 1. A CR extends appropriations at current funding levels without allowing for new programs or major shifts in priorities. The CR could last through Thanksgiving or Christmas, or potentially extend into January 2019 and the new Congress.

Shutdown

Congress’ main goal this month is to avoid a shutdown. House and Senate leadership and the Vice President have been lobbying the President to postpone a shutdown fight over funding for his border wall until after the election. While some White House insiders are confident the President will sign spending bills to keep the government open, there are some immigration hardliners advising him to fight the border wall issue now while Republicans still control the House.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the Republican Study Committee earlier this week that the President doesn’t want a shutdown in October. Republican members in the meeting left with the understanding that the border wall fight will likely wait until after the midterm elections in November. However, after Republican leaders met with the President on Wednesday afternoon the President told reporters that he is still open to shutting down the federal government, “If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything.” And today the President said, “I would do it [shutdown] because I think it’s a great political issue.”

In related border wall news, House Armed Services Committee and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Democrats sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mattis this week in which they urge him to oppose a request by the Department of Homeland Security to divert $450M in defense funding toward border infrastructure along the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona.

https://democrats-armedservices.house.gov/_cache/files/c/9/c9c33929-eb73-493a-8aad-bed677d76698/57F918A410026BC3586DF7C5BDA95E1F.letter-to-secdef-on-border-wall.pdf

FY2019 Appropriations Bills Status

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: May 9

Full Committee: May 16

Subcommittee: May 22

Full Committee: May 24

Floor: August 1

Commerce Justice Science Subcommittee: May 9

Full Committee: May 17

Subcommittee: June 12

Full Committee: June 14

Defense Subcommittee: June 7

Full Committee: June 13

Floor: June 28

Subcommittee: June 26

Full Committee: June 28

Floor: August 23

Energy & Water Subcommittee: May 7

Full Committee: May 16

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: May 22

Full Committee: May 24

Floor: June 25

Financial Services Subcommittee: May 24

Full Committee: June 13

Floor: July 19

Subcommittee: June 19

Full Committee: Jun 21

Floor: August 1

Homeland Security Subcommittee: July 19

Full Committee: July 25

Subcommittee: June 19

Full Committee: Jun 21

Interior Environment Subcommittee: May 15

Full Committee: June 6

Floor: July 19

Subcommittee: June 12

Full Committee: June 14

Floor: August 1

Labor HHS Education Subcommittee: June 15

Full Committee: July 11

Subcommittee: June 26

Full Committee: June 28

Floor: August 23

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Full Committee: June 14

Floor: June 25

Military Construction VA Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: June 25

State Foreign Operations Subcommittee: June 13

Full Committee: June 20

Subcommittee: June 19

Full Committee: Jun 21

Transportation HUD Subcommittee: May 16

Full Committee: May 23

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: August 1

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