2018 Midterm Election Analysis

Only one more day to the midterm elections and knowing who will be in control of the House and Senate in the 116thCongress. Most experts believe Democrats will win control of the House while Republicans will retain control of the Senate (and perhaps pick up a seat or two). Regardless of the outcome, Congress will return the week of November 12 and have a number of issues they will have to address during the lame duck session.

Below I’ve provided some information and analysis on what we can expect tomorrow, during the lame duck session, and in the next Congress.

2018 Mid-Term Elections

The 115thCongress is comprised of 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats in the House, and 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and 2 Independents in the Senate. There are 7 vacant seats in the House (5 were held by Republicans and 2 were held by Democrats). Most political experts are predicting Democrats will win 30 or more Republican-held seats in the House to win the majority (they need to win 23).

The AP is reporting that these are the races to watch (sorted by poll closing time):

7 pm ET

Kentucky-06   Barr (R) vs McGrath (D)

Virginia-07    Brat (R) vs Spanberger (D)

7:30 pm ET

NC-09              Harris (R) vs McReady (D)

Ohio-12          Balderson (R) vs O’Connor (D)

8:00 pm ET

Florida-27      Salazar (R) vs Shalala (D)

NJ-2                 Grossman (R) vs Van Drew (D)

NJ-3                 MacArthur (R) vs Kim (D)

NJ-11               Webber (R) vs Sherrill (D)

PA-01              Fitzpatrick (R) vs Wallace (D)

9:00 pm ET

Kansas-02      Watkins (R) vs Davis (D)

Minn-03         Paulsen (R) vs Phillips (D)

NM-02             Herrell (R) vs Torres Small (D)

NY-19              Faso (R) vs Delgado (D)

NY-22              Tenney (R) vs Brindisi (D)

10:00 pm ET

Iowa-04          King (R) vs Scholten (D)

11:00 pm ET

California-10Denham (R) vs Harder (D)

California-48Rohrbacher (R) vs Rouda (D)

WA-03             Herrera Beutler (R) vs Long (D)

While historical trends show the party of the president losing seats in the House during the midterm elections, this doesn’t necessarily hold true in the Senate. And turnout tomorrow will play a huge role. Right now we’re seeing record rates of early voting. Some experts predict Republicans in the Senate will pick up a seat or two.

Even though Republicans are expected to lose the majority in the House, the House Freedom Caucus is predicting that it will add a few new members to its roster. They expect to increase their roster of 35 members to 37-40 members. If Republicans lose seats in the midterms, but the Freedom Caucus increases its membership, it could have more influence in the House Republican Conference in the 116th Congress.

We may not know the results to all races tomorrow as there may be some races that are too close to call and may require a recount or some races may require a run-off.

In addition to changes in the House and Senate, the Executive Branch typically sees some changes/turnover after the midterm elections. A number of staff are expected to leave and join the President’s 2020 re-election campaign. And there are plenty of rumors circulating about members of the President’s cabinet that will exit after the midterm elections (Zinke, Sessions, Mattis, Ross).

Lame Duck Session

Congress returns the week of November 12 for one week of session prior to adjourning for the Thanksgiving week recess. They are currently scheduled to return the week of November 26 for three weeks before adjourning for the holidays. The House and Senate’s target adjournment dates are December 13 and December 14, respectively.

Leadership Elections

After the elections, newly elected members of Congress come to DC for orientation and leadership elections. Republicans in the House plan to hold their leadership elections on November 15, while Democrats said they would not hold their leadership elections before November 28.

House Republicans

Since House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) is not running for reelection, House Republicans will need to select either a Speaker (if they retain the majority) or Minority Leader (if they lose the majority) for the 116thCongress. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the frontrunner for Speaker, but he could face several challengers including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.  Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is expected to challenge Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for majority whip, the number 3 post. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is running for House Republican Conference Chair. If Republicans are in the minority, the most likely scenario is McCarthy as Minority Leader and Scalise as Minority Whip.

House Democrats

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made it clear to her caucus that she is seeking the Speakership if Democrats win control of the House. However, a few Democratic candidates have pledged to not vote for Pelosi for Speaker and the Congressional Black Caucus is saying that one of their members should be Speaker or Majority Leader. Election as Speaker of the House requires support from 218 Members of the House. Democrats will have to figure out how they can get the votes needed to elect a speaker in the 116thCongress. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC) have also indicated interest in retaining leadership positions in the next Congress. Clyburn doesn’t intend to challenge Pelosi or Hoyer for their positions. If Democrats fail to win the majority in the House, expect to see several challengers emerge in the leadership elections.

Senate Republicans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to continue in his leadership position, but other positions will change due to conference-imposed term limits (3 full two-year terms, except Majority/Minority Leader). Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) is term-limited and will step down. While Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is expected to replace him, Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) may consider a run for the position or other leadership positions.

Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats do not have term limits. Their leadership is expected to remain the same in the next Congress. However, if Democrats lose more seats than anticipated, the caucus could challenge the existing leadership.

Lame Duck Agenda

There are a number of issues Congress must address in the four weeks they are scheduled to be in session after the midterm elections – FY19 appropriations bills, farm bill, tax extenders, National Flood Insurance Program, Violence Against Women Act, and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

The results of the midterm elections will have a significant impact on how the lame duck agenda plays out. If Democrats take over the House, Republicans could try to push through their agenda before they lose the majority. But they need 60 votes in the Senate and that will require support from Democrats in the Senate. It isn’t clear if Democrats would want to “clear the decks” before the new Congress or if they would want to postpone consideration of some legislation until they are in power (again, if they win the majority in the House).

Remaining FY19 Appropriations Bills

Congress has passed and the President has signed into law five of the 12 annual spending bills (Defense, Energy & Water, Labor HHS Education, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs). The remaining seven FY19 appropriations bills (Agriculture, Commerce Justice Science, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior Environment, State Foreign Operations, and Transportation HUD) are funded by a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7.

President Trump and Congressional Republicans have been gearing up for a fight over funding for a border wall. The President has raised the possibility of a government shutdown if he does not get the funding he has requested for the wall. The Senate Homeland appropriations bill only has $1.6B for the wall compared to the House bill which includes $5B (the President’s FY19 requested amount). Democrats may also cause a shutdown if the spending bills are loaded up with conservative Republican priorities before they lose the majority. Or Democrats could force passage of another continuing resolution to carry funding into the new Congress. If Democrats fail to win the majority in the House, they could try to slow down the spending bills. But they would be in a politically weakened position, so negotiations on a spending deal could be faster under this scenario. There have been no serious discussions between Congress and the Administration during the recess on the remaining spending bills.

Congress may also consider a supplemental disaster aid spending package even though FEMA has indicated it has enough funding to cover those impacted by Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence.

Other Lame Duck Priorities

The Senate will take up the Coast Guard reauthorization bill when it returns. The National Flood Insurance Program expires on November 30, and the Violence Against Women Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act both expire on December 7. All of these bills need to be reauthorized or extended. The 2018 Farm Bill is currently in conference and will be a priority during the lame duck session. The bill is being held up by a dispute over where the agriculture subsidies will go, but conferees are optimistic that they will be able to pass a full reauthorization before the end of this Congress. Congress may also consider a tax extenders and technical corrections package during the lame duck session. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will continue to push to confirm as many nominees as possible. Already on deck is a cloture vote on a nominee for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Other possible items for consideration include criminal justice reform and retirement reform legislation (Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act or the Family Savings Act).

Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 established the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform. November 30 is the deadline for the select committee to present their recommendations. They are on track to release a bill during the next two weeks. Markup is scheduled for the week of November 13.

The bill is likely to be limited to a provision that would move Congress from an annual to a biennial budget resolution. However, the bill could become broader if amendments are added during the markup or if the co-chairs agree to technical changes before the bill is officially introduced. Potential amendments include changing the fiscal year to calendar year, eliminating the need for Congress to raise the debt limit, encouraging the packaging of the 12 annual spending bills, disallowing the use of filibuster-proof budget reconciliation procedures in the Senate for deficit-increasing legislation, restoring PAYGO rules in the House, and requiring the Appropriations committees to adopt a full set of committee allocations before subcommittees can advance their bills.

FY2020 Budget and Appropriations

In an October cabinet meeting, President Trump ordered his cabinet secretaries to cut 5% of their agencies’ budgets in FY2020. With just a few weeks left in the FY2020 budget planning process, the Pentagon has been advised by the Office of Management and Budget that the defense topline for FY2020 will be $700B, not the $733B they had originally been told to expect. Up until now, DOD has been preparing its budget assuming a $733B topline. DOD Comptroller David Norquist is reportedly continuing to develop two parallel budget documents to demonstrate to Defense Secretary Mattis the cuts they will have to make and the impacts those cuts will have.

FY2020 Budget Control Act Limits and Sequestration

The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 was signed into law on August 2, 2011 and imposes annual statutory discretionary spending limits for defense and nondefense spending through FY2021. Since it was signed into law, Congress has modified the spending limits through the following bills: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. None of these bills have changed the discretionary caps imposed by the BCA for FY2020 and FY2021. The statement that the “sequester is returning in FY2020,” therefore, means that the discretionary spending limits will again be the level prescribed by the BCA unless Congress modifies them by passing legislation. If the caps are not lifted and Congress passes FY2020 spending bills that don’t comply with the FY2020 caps, then across-the-board sequestration cuts will automatically kick in. Adherence to the budget caps will obviously mean less funding for numerous federal programs and tough decisions for Congress and the executive agencies as well as the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

For FY2019, defense spending is $647B and nondefense $597B. For FY2020, defense spending under the BCA is capped at $576B and nondefense is capped at $542B.

Debt Ceiling

The debt ceiling has been lifted until March 1, 2019. If Congress does not raise the debt limit or suspend the ceiling before March 1, 2019 the Treasury Department will be forced to use extraordinary measures to prevent a default by the U.S. government. Extraordinary measures can give Congress several additional months to work out a debt ceiling agreement. The debt ceiling could be part of a broader negotiation on an FY2020/2021 budget agreement lifting BCA discretionary spending caps.

116thCongress

If Republicans retain control of the House we can expect to see a continuation of their current priorities. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee just released a joint statement with the White House that they would push for the President’s proposed 10% middle class tax cut next year. If Democrats take over the House, they will focus on their “A Better Deal” priorities. They also want to pursue ethics and campaign finance reform, an infrastructure package, legislation to reduce the price of prescription drugs, gun safety measures, a legislative solution to protect participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and preserving the Affordable Care Act. They will also pursue a wide-ranging oversight agenda (the administration, climate change, intelligence agencies).

Should Republicans retain control of the Senate, judicial confirmations will continue to be one of the top priorities of Majority Leader McConnell in the 116th Congress as he tries to confirm as many judges as possible before the 2020 presidential election. They may also have some cabinet member nominations to consider in the new Congress.

Finally, the administration will want to see action on their recently negotiated trade agreements. President Trump is expected to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in November on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting – right at the end of Mexican President Pena Nieto’s term. That will not leave enough time for the current Congress to consider implementing legislation.

FY2018 Intelligence Funding Levels Released

Intelligence spending in the U.S. is a combination of the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). The NIP supports strategic planning and policymaking and is comprised of four defense NIP programs and eight nondefense NIP programs. The MIP supports military operational and tactical levels of planning and operations and is comprised of 10 MIP programs. Six U.S. intelligence community (IC) components have both MIP and NIP funding sources.

While the Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) do not publicly detail how they spend the billions they are appropriated each year for intelligence, they do release two figures each year: how much they requested and how much Congress approved.

This week the Pentagon announced that the FY18 appropriations for the MIP (including Overseas Contingency Operations funding) was $22.1B, an increase of 20% over the FY17 funding level of $18.4B. The administration had requested $20.7B for FY18.

The ODNI said that the NIP budget for FY18 was $59.4B, up 8.7% from the FY17 funding level of $54.6B. The administration had requested $57.7B for FY18.

Committee Leadership and Membership in the 116th Congress

Retirements, higher office ambitions, promotions, primary losses, and (potential) general election losses will have an impact on committee membership and leadership in the 116thCongress. Leadership elections could also have an effect. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) is widely expected to become Majority Whip if Republicans hold their majority in the Senate. If that does happen, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is the presumptive successor to take that committee’s gavel.

This week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that if Democrats win control of the House in the midterm elections that she expects all of the ranking members on House committees will become chairs of those committees in the 116th Congress (2019-2020). In addition to the House potentially flipping, there are 55 members (18 Democrats and 37 Republicans) who are not seeking re-election to their House seat in 2018. In the Senate, there are only three Republican members (Hatch-UT, Flake-AZ, and Corker-TN) who are retiring at the end of this Congress. Hatch is currently the chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Grassley (R-IA) is next in line for that gavel, but he may opt to keep his chair of the Judiciary Committee. If he does stay at Judiciary, Sen. Crapo (R-ID) is the next most senior Republican. Sen. Corker is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Risch (R-ID) is the next most senior Republican on that committee.

To help you keep track of all of these potential committee changes, Vantage Point Strategies updated its House and Senate committee charts indicating members who are retiring, lost in their primary, or are running for higher office. Also noted are committee chairs that are term limited at the end of 2018 as well as members who have previously been the chairs of those committees and, thus, are not eligible to be chairman again. Only Republicans have term limits for committee chairs. In the House, members are limited to a total of six years as chair or ranking member. In the Senate, Republican senators can serve six years as chair andsix years as ranking member.

In the Senate, there are a number of Republican chairs that will reach their six-year limit at the end of 2020 (if Republicans retain control of the Senate in the 116thCongress). Of these chairs, the following are also up for re-election in 2020: Roberts (R-KS), Enzi (R-WY), Alexander (R-TN), and Collins (R-ME). Term limits may or may not be a factor in their re-election decision.

House Committees

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/115th-congress-house-committees-10-16-18/

Senate Committees

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/115th-congress-senate-committees-10-17-18/

Remaining Seven FY19 Appropriations Bills – On Hold Until Lame Duck Session

When the House and Senate return on November 13 they will have seven of their 12 FY19 appropriations bills to complete work on before the continuing resolution funding these bills expires on December 7. The biggest unknown at this time is how the fight over border wall funding will play out.

The FY19 Homeland Security Appropriations bill was marked up and reported out of the House and Senate appropriations committees earlier this year, but didn’t see floor action. The House bill includes $5B for the southwest border wall while the Senate bill only provides $1.6B for the wall. The President wants a $5B down payment on his proposed wall in FY19. House and Senate appropriators may be working on a compromise that would fall between the $1.6B and $5B.

The outcome of the November 6 midterm elections could have an effect on the lame duck spending negotiations. If Democrats win either or both chambers of Congress, they could push for a spending delay into the new calendar year. But Republican leaders have promised the President that he will get his border wall funding by December. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hasn’t ruled out a partial government shutdown if Congress can’t pass the remaining spending bills.

Earlier this week Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that while he is not against the wall, he just hopes “what we do is wise, you know, the way we spend our money.” The Senate will need support from Democrats to pass the spending bills in their chamber.

FY2019 Appropriations Bills Status

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action Conference
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

House Floor: Sept. 26

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law: Sept. 28  (P.L. 115-245)

Energy & Water Subcommittee: May 7

Full Committee: May 16

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: May 22

Full Committee: May 24

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21  (P.L. 115-244)

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

House Floor: Sept. 26

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law: Sept. 28 (P.L. 115-245)

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Full Committee: June 14

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21  (P.L. 115-244)

Military Construction VA Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21  (P.L. 115-244)

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

 

 

Congress Passes and President Signs 2nd Minibus Appropriations Package

Defense, Labor HHS Education

The House on Wednesday passed an $854B spending bill funding the Defense and Labor HHS Education FY19 spending bills while pushing the funding deadline for the remaining seven FY19 spending bills until December 7. The bill passed by a vote of 361-61, a week after the Senate passed it by a vote of 93-7. Five democrats and 56 republicans voted against the measure in the House. The President signed the bill into law today. For the first time in 22 years, five of the 12 annual spending bills became law on time.

Defense and Labor HHS Education Conference Report Text

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/CRPT-115hrpt952.pdf

Defense and Labor HHS Education Joint Explanatory Statement

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/Joint%20%20Statement.pdf

Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation HUD

House and Senate negotiators were not able to reach agreement on a four-bill minibus spending package that includes the Interior, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD FY19 spending bills. Negotiations were held up because of policy disputes over environmental regulations, a pay raise for federal employees, the regulation of meat produced from animal cells, and whether to wall off certain funds from being spent before budget deficits are eliminated. A final agreement will now have to wait until after the House returns November 13. In the meantime, the agencies funded in these four spending bills will be funded through December 7 under the continuing resolution included in the Defense and Labor HHS Education minibus spending bill that was signed into law today.

FY2019 Appropriations Bills Status

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action Conference
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

House Floor: Sept. 26

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law: Sept. 28

Energy & Water Subcommittee: May 7

Full Committee: May 16

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: May 22

Full Committee: May 24

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

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

House Floor: Sept. 26

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law: Sept. 28

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Full Committee: June 14

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

Military Construction VA Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

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

 

President Signs First FY2019 Appropriations Minibus Spending Package

The President signed into law the first minibus spending package, H.R. 5895, today while visiting the North Las Vegas Medical Center. The minibus sets funding levels for FY19 for the Energy & Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch spending bills.

Defense, Labor HHS Education

The Senate adopted a conference report for the FY19 Defense and Labor HHS Education spending bills by a vote of 93 to 7. Senators voting against the measure were: Flake (R-AZ), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Perdue (R-GA), Sanders (I-VT), Sasse (R-NE), and Toomey (R-PA). While some GOP conservatives have threatened to oppose the bill because of the non-defense spending levels, House leadership is confident the measure will pass with broad bipartisan support.

The $855.1B package also includes a continuing resolution extending current funding levels through December 7 for any federal agencies that don’t get their FY19 appropriations bills passed by October 1 as well as a short-term extension of the Violence Against Women Act and sections of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Conference Report Text

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/CRPT-115hrpt952.pdf

Joint Explanatory Statement

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/Joint%20%20Statement.pdf

Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation HUD

House and Senate negotiators continue to work on a deal on the $154 billion spending package covering the Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD spending bills. When conferees met last week, there were disagreements over policy riders affecting environmental regulations. Two other issues holding up a conference agreement are a $585M “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids” and the federal employee pay raise.

FY2019 Appropriations Bills Status

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action Conference
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

House Floor:

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: May 7

Full Committee: May 16

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: May 22

Full Committee: May 24

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

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

House Floor:

Senate Floor: Sept. 18

Signed Into Law:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Full Committee: June 14

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

Military Construction VA Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law: Sept. 21

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

 

FY19 Appropriations Update

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

The House and Senate passed the $147.5B FY19 Energy & Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch appropriations minibus conference agreement this week and sent the measure to the President for his signature.

The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 92 to 5. The five no votes were from Flake (R-AZ), Gillibrand (D-NY), Markey (D-MA), Paul (R-KY), and Warren (D-MA). The House followed and passed it on Thursday by a vote of 377 to 20 (two Democrats and 18 Republicans voted no). This is the first time in 10 years that Congress managed to pass three spending bills on time.

The spending package provided $98.1B for the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill (a 5.8% increase over FY18), $44.6B for the Energy & Water bill (a 3.2% increase over FY18), and $4.8B for the Legislative Branch bill (a 2.1% increase over FY18). It also included an additional $1.25B to cover an immediate funding shortfall for the Veterans Choice Program. The bill did not include any partisan policy riders that had been included in the House versions of the bills.

Conference Report

https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Conference%20Report%20to%20accompany%20H.R.%205895.pdf

Joint Explanatory Statement

https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Joint%20Explanatory%20Statement%20H.R.%205895.pdf

Defense, Labor HHS Education

House and Senate negotiators reached a compromise on the two biggest annual spending bills, paving the way for final adoption of the Defense and Labor HHS Education appropriations bills in time for the new fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.

The $855B conference agreement also includes a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the federal agencies that don’t get their full-year appropriations bills completed on time. The CR would extend current fiscal year funding levels for those agencies through December 7. Conferees hope to avoid a partial federal government shutdown by including the CR in the Defense minibus. The President would have to veto defense spending if he wanted to shutdown he federal government over border wall funding.

Like the Energy & Water, Military Construction-VA, Legislative Branch minibus conference agreement, this package does not include any of the partisan policy riders sought by House Republicans. While House conservatives have threatened to withhold their support for the bill on the floor, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) is confident that the measure has enough bipartisan support for passage.

The Senate may take up the conference agreement next week. The House would then consider the measure when they return from recess the week of September 24.

Conference Report Text

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/CRPT-115hrpt952.pdf 

Joint Explanatory Statement

https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/Joint%20%20Statement.pdf

Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation HUD

House and Senate negotiators met this week to conference the final minibus spending package that they hope to pass before the end of this fiscal year. The $154B four-bill package includes the Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation HUD spending bills. While they had hoped to finalize an agreement this week, negotiators could not reach agreement on several partisan policy riders. Many of these riders are in the Interior-Environment portion of the minibus. Republicans agreed to forgo their riders in the other two minibus spending packages, but had yet to do so in this minibus. Negotiators are still hopeful that they will be able to reach a deal in the coming days.

FY2019 Appropriations Bills Status

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action Conference
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

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law:

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

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law:

Military Construction VA Subcommittee: April 26

Full Committee: May 8

Floor: June 8

Subcommittee: June 5

Full Committee: June 7

Floor: June 25

House Floor: Sept. 12

Senate Floor: Sept. 13

Signed Into Law:

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

 

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

FY2019 Appropriations Update

The Senate has passed nine of its 12 annual FY19 spending bills in four minibus appropriations packages while the House has passed just six of its bills in two minibus appropriations packages and one (Defense) bill. When members of Congress return next week they have 11 days to complete action on the FY19 spending bills before the end of the fiscal year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that conference approval of the Energy & Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs minibus package could come as soon as next week. The Veterans Affairs section of the conference report has been one of the biggest hurdles during the negotiations as funding for a private health care program for veterans would be moved from mandatory spending to discretionary spending (subject to spending caps). This issue may be resolved by adding emergency funding to the package.

McConnell would also like to see conference action on its Defense-Labor HHS Education, Interior-Financial Services, and Agriculture-Transportation/HUD minibus appropriations packages.

In all likelihood, a continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to keep the government open after September 30. And a shutdown is not out of the question as the President has threatened to do this if he does not get the funding he requested for his southwest border wall. In addition to demonstrating to his base his commitment to building a wall, a shutdown could be used as a distraction from the Paul Manafort trial, which is scheduled to begin September 24. If a CR is passed, it could fund the federal government through Thanksgiving or Christmas. And it could be the first of many CRs depending on the outcome of the midterm elections. If the Democrats take control of the House, Republicans may want to lock in current spending levels with a CR that lasts through FY19.

The CR could also become a magnet for other expiring authorization measures as floor time will be limited. The Senate will spend much of its floor time on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court. A farm bill conference report is also supposed to come up. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that a multi-year FAA reauthorization (or stopgap authorization) could be added to the CR since its authorization expires on September 30.

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

Senate Passes 8th and 9th FY19 Spending Bills

The Senate passed their third “minibus” spending package of the year. The Senate has now passed nine of the 12 annual appropriations bills. The three remaining bills for the Senate to consider on the floor are the Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, and State Foreign Operations spending bills. The House has reported all of its bills out of committee, but only passed six of them on the House floor. The House still needs to consider the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, Labor HHS Education, State Foreign Operations, and Transportation HUD spending bills on the floor when it returns from recess after Labor Day. The House could bypass floor action for some of the bills and go directly to conference with the Senate.

With only a few weeks left before the end of the fiscal year, staff are reportedly “pre-conferencing” some of the spending bills despite lack of action in the House. They have begun doing side-by-side comparisons and identifying issues. They need to work out the topline spending levels for each bill as well as the policy riders. Whichever bills are worked out and agreed upon by September 30 could be attached to a continuing resolution (CR) for final passage. The CR will provide stopgap spending for the agencies that don’t have an FY19 bill signed into law before October 1. The CR is likely to fund the government through the November midterm elections. One potential roadblock to a CR is the President. It isn’t clear that the President will sign a CR or any of the FY19 spending bills without a promise of $5B for his border wall.

FY19 Defense and Labor HHS Education Appropriations Bills

The Senate passed their FY19 Defense and Labor HHS Education appropriations minibus yesterday by a vote of 85 to 7. Sens. Crapo (R-ID), Flake (R-AZ), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Sanders (I-VT), and Toomey (R-PA) voted no on the measure. This $854B minibus spending package accounts for roughly 60% of the FY19 appropriations spending. This is the first time since 2009 that the Senate has passed a defense spending bill that was not included in an omnibus spending measure. And if it is signed into law before October 1, it would be the first time since 2006 that a defense bill has been enacted before the beginning of the new fiscal year.

FY19 Energy & Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill Conference

Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said this week that he expects the Senate will take up the FY19 Energy & Water, Military Construction-VA, and Legislative Branch appropriations conference report the first week of September. This means that conferees will sign off on a final conference agreement next week. Conferees canceled a formal meeting in July over a disagreement on funding for veterans health care.

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