Appropriations House Finishes 10 Bills, Senate May Act Without White House Deal

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The House of Representatives completed action on the Financial Services bill on Thursday. That makes 10 of 12 bills approved before the July 4th break. The remaining two include the Legislative Branch and Homeland Security. The Legislative Branch is likely to move after the break after stalling on a failed attempt to unfreeze congressional salaries from approximately ten years ago. The Homeland Security bill is a different story. That legislation is likely to trigger some of the same roadblocks and debates taking place in other immigration legislation. It is likely to trigger a fight over a border wall funding fight with the President.

The Senate still has not moved on their 12 bills. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would not move ahead without an agreement from the White House. He also said that that agreement would not be reached until after the break. Still, there was speculation that the Senate would “deem” a level of spending and start on their bills in July without a White House deal. The Senate would almost certainly set spending levels below the House, but they likely would set spending above the current FY 2019 levels. A level spending cap would cause cuts in some areas since there are several programs that have increased costs due to formulas and other changes. The Senate may also attempt to pass a joint Labor-HHS-Education and Defense Department bill as they did last year. Such a package brings together liberals and conservatives.

Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin is leading the White House discussions with both Republicans and Democrats unhappy with acting-Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney as a negotiating partner. Secretary Mnuchin has said that the Administration might settle for a one-year continuing resolution or “CR” that would be level funding while also raising the debt ceiling. However, they would need an agreement by Democratic leaders to do that.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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