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Capitol Correspondence - 07.02.18

Senate Passes Labor-HHS Funding Bill, House Bill Still Pending

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According to Politico Pro:

“The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 30-1 to approve the Labor-HHS-Education package, with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) casting the single vote against it.

The bill would set HHS’ discretionary budget at $90.1 billion, including $3.7 billion allocated to initiatives aimed at curbing the opioid crisis. It also would boost NIH’s spending by $2 billion over prior fiscal years.


The bipartisan agreement keeps the Senate on track to send all 12 appropriations bills to the Senate floor by the end of the month.”

While some of the 12 funding bills have already been shared on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s website, the Labor-HHS language is not yet publicly available. The upcoming floor vote, for which a date has not yet been set, is the last step for the funding bills to pass the Senate, meaning the Senate is on track to complete its process for funding federal agencies this summer.

In contrast the House, which also needs to pass appropriations bills for the full Congressional funding process to be complete, is doing so at a slower pace. According to another Politico Pro article:

“House GOP appropriators have again postponed consideration of their Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, an Appropriations Committee aide said this afternoon.

The markup, which had been rescheduled for Tuesday, is now slated to be held sometime after the upcoming July Fourth recess, the aide said. [Emphasis added by ANCOR].

Subcommittee ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) suggested after an earlier postponement that the delay was related to Republican reluctance to debate the bill in the midst of a backlash over White House immigration policy. But aides to majority Republicans said it had to do with scheduling problems rather than larger disputes.”

If the House appropriations Labor-HHS bill has significant differences from the Senate version, a compromise between the two versions will have to be negotiated in a process called reconciliation. However, in past years House has been persuaded to adopt Senate versions of funding bills because reconciliation takes more time and requires the House and Senate to each vote on the negotiated version, which delays the legislative process.