Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rule for Consideration of HR 3354 – FY 2018 Spending Bill

Last night the House Rules Committee completed their work on the rule for the consideration of HR 3354, the FY 2018 combined spending bill. This will be a structured rule with only 117 amendments that may be submitted during the debate of the bill; a huge decrease from the number submitted. There were only three of those amendments that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog:

Amendments of Interest

The three amendments of potential specific interest are:

21. Lipinski (D,IL): Decreases the Office of the Secretary of Transportation Salaries and Expenses account by $9,000,000 and increases the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Salaries and Expenses account by the same amount for the purpose of expanding NHTSA's connected and automated vehicles oversight and regulatory capabilities;
37. Carbajal (D,CA): Provides $1,000,000 to PHMSA for the finalization of an automatic valve shut-off safety rule; and
67. Delaney (D,MD), Donovan (R,NY): Funds the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, Chemical Security Analysis Center, and National Urban Security Technology Laboratory and is offset by a reduction in Management Directorate, Operations and Support account.

There are no specific provisions in these amendments beyond the simple addition (and co-equal subtraction) of funds in the appropriate places in the proposed bill. All funding changes have to be funding neutral; funds being added to a program have to be specifically taken from somewhere else. That somewhere else in these cases are from management accounts, not specific programs.

Moving Forward

The consideration of the bill is scheduled to begin today with a vote on the resolution (the rule for the consideration of the bill) and will probably conclude tomorrow. The bill is likely (but NOT guaranteed) to pass. If it does pass the important thing to be watching for is a significant bipartisan vote with a substantial majority; anything less will mean that the bill will not be considered in the Senate.

It is not likely that this bill will reach the President’s desk or even make it to a conference committee. It is becoming increasingly likely that there will be a continuing resolution to continue funding for the government through sometime in December.

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