Capitol Correspondence - 08.20.18

Labor-HHS Funding Bill Coming to Floor Vote in Senate

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As shared by CQ Morning News:

“Senators are on the verge of initiating floor debate on a package consisting of the fiscal 2019 Defense (S 3159) and Labor-HHS-Education (S 3158) spending bills […].

Together, the two bills make up about 63 percent of total discretionary spending subject to budget caps for the coming fiscal year. (The legislative vehicle for the pair is the House-passed Defense bill, HR 6157.)

It’s been 11 years since a Labor-HHS-Education bill reached the floor, and even the politically popular Defense bill was blocked from floor consideration by Democrats last year amid fears that their domestic funding priorities could get shortchanged if the military were funded first. This year, that fear has subsided, given spending limits already enshrined in a bipartisan budget deal (PL 115-123).”

Politico Pro adds this caveat to that news:

“Those two funding bills will likely attract a slew of amendments on political landmines like the family separation crisis, Obamacare, abortion and gun violence research.

But to speed up the process, few of those are likely to see floor votes. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), as well as his counterpart, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), have said they want to limit political distractions in an attempt to meet next month’s Sept. 30 funding deadline.

The Senate attached its two bills to the House’s already-passed Defense bill, H.R. 6157 (115), to use as a vehicle. If it passes the Senate, the House would still need to pass its own Labor-HHS-Education bill on the floor, or opt for the Senate’s “clean” version without GOP policy riders.”

Politico Pro has also shared that:

“The White House knocked Senate spending leaders for ignoring key pieces of President Donald Trump’s budget and spending $11.8 billion more than requested on domestic programs.

However, no veto threat was made and the White House said that ‘as the appropriations process continues, the administration would like to work with the Congress to ‘identify a path’ to lower nondefense spending.


But the White House was critical of the Senate’s domestic funding levels, including for “wasteful” or “duplicative” programs related to preventing teen pregnancy, supporting labor unions or forgiving loans for students who enter public service.” [ANCOR NOTE: some of these provisions are in the Labor-HHS bill.]