CHN: House Moves Another Partisan Spending Package and More Money for Anti-Immigrant Enforcement
In other appropriations news, the House passed (217-199) a spending package on July 19 that combined the Interior-Environment spending bill with the Financial Services spending bill. Fifteen Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the package. Advocates objected to many poison pill partisan riders in the bill that would roll back environmental regulations and consumer protections. For example, according to CQ, the House bill “would strip the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of some powers and of financial independence” and contains policy riders “affecting regulators’ abilities to implement the Endangered Species, Clean Air, and Clean Water acts.” According to Pubic Citizen, the bill would also stop the IRS from enforcing current law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt religious groups from engaging in political campaigns and would stop the IRS from creating a clear definition of political activity for nonprofits.
The partisan nature of the package means it could not survive the Senate in its current form, however. The Senate is expected to take up the package as early as this week, but is expected to replace the contents of the package with its versions of the two bills, and also add its versions of the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development spending bill and the Agriculture spending bill.
In addition, a House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee passed (by voice vote) its FY19 spending bill on July 19. The bill includes $5 billion for President Trump’s border wall, more than three times the amount included in the Senate bill. According to a statement from Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), the subcommittee’s top Democrat, the bill would increase the number of detention beds for migrants from the current 40,520 to 44,000, and would fund the hiring of more than 300 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal officers. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the bill this week.
Some in Congress are pushing for conference negotiations on topline spending allocations for each of the 12 appropriations bills, known as 302(b) allocations, which differ in the House and Senate and which advocates think are too low for the bills that cover important human needs programs. If appropriations bills pass both chambers before these funding decisions are made, there is a risk that early bills will spend too much, forcing further cuts in bills like the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill that often are taken up later. Despite the forward motion of the spending bills, many are already expecting that a stopgap spending bill will be needed to keep the government open from the time the new fiscal year begins on October 1 through sometime after the November elections.