CHN: Appropriations Bills Advance in House and Senate…Brick Wall Ahead
House and Senate appropriators have moved many of their bills forward for the fiscal year beginning next October. Out of the dozen bills that need action, the full House has passed six bills; another four have been approved in the full Appropriations Committee. In the Senate, while nothing has gotten to a floor vote, nine of the bills have gotten full committee approval. Unlike previous years, the usually highly controversial Labor-HHS-Education bill has been approved by the full Appropriations Committees of both House and Senate.
What will happen next is not yet known, but what will not happen is pretty clear. The bills, passing with partisan votes in Committee, will not be able to pass on the Senate floor. The President has consistently promised to veto any bills that do not exceed sequestration levels, and Democrats are not allowing bills to move forward on the floor. In the Senate, Democrats refused to allow the Defense Appropriations bill to proceed on June 18. The vote was 50-45, but 60 votes were needed. Only one Democrat voted to advance the bill (Senator Donnelly (D-IN)); all Republicans who were present voted in favor (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ended up changing his vote, which allows him to bring the bill up for a vote again at a later time if he chooses. Pressure to pass the Defense spending bill was intense. By withstanding it, Democrats have stuck to their stated goal of replacing the current bills with an agreement to go beyond sequester levels.
Two bills providing funding for many human needs programs illustrate the harm of staying under the rigid sequester caps. See the coverage of the Labor-HHS-Education and Transportation-HUD bills in this edition of the Human Needs Report.