Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Committee Hearings – Week of 09-17-19

This week with both the House and Senate in session and the end of the fiscal year fast approaching, spending bills are the main topic of interest. The Senate attempts to take up the first minibus while crafting spending bills and the House introduces a continuing resolution.

HR 2740 in the Senate

Yesterday the Senate began the process to begin debating HR 2740, the first minibus spending bill passed by the House. No amendments have been submitted yet (will start today) so I cannot yet tell how the Republican Senate intends to deal with the fact that they have no committee reported language to substitute for the Democratic House language for the LHHE and State portions of the bill.

The first cloture vote (to start debate on the bill) is scheduled for Wednesday. We may not see the 60 votes necessary to start that debate. If that happens it is very unlikely that we will see any of the minibus spending bills making their way to the President’s desk. In any case a CR will be necessary.

CR in the House

The House Rules Committee will meet today to take up a ‘clean’ continuing resolution that will reportedly extend the current spending until November 21st. No actual language is currently available for review.

Three Spending Bills in Committee

The Senate Appropriations Committee will take up three additional spending bills this week. The subcommittee markup hearings will be held on Tuesday:

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD);
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (ARF); and
Financial Services and General Government

On Thursday the full Committee will take up whichever spending bills are adopted by the Subcommittees. At this point, which, if any, will be reported remains a guess at best. These three bills would make up about ½ of the second minibus (HR 3055) that the House passed back in June. Presumably the Committee will take up the remaining bills (CJS, IER, Military Construction) next week.

On the Floor

Today the House will take up S 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The House passed their version of the bill (HR 2500). The House will certainly ‘insist’ on their language and request a conference to work out the differences between the two bills.

The House will likely take up the CR discussed above on Wednesday.


Okay, what is a ‘clean CR’? In a non-complicated world (where CR’s would never be needed anyway) a ‘clean CR’ would be just a couple of sentences extending the expiration date of the current spending authorization (in this case HJ Res 31). In the real world there are additional add-ons that would extend other expiring programs in the extension of the fiscal year.

Which programs get added is what gets interesting. Non-controversial programs do not endanger passage of the CR. The addition of controversial programs could derail the CR when it gets to the Senate. The line between the two gets more than a little fuzzy and a CR this early in the process could see the Democrats pushing the limit to see what they can get. They do, after all, have another week to come back and try again.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */