Saturday, August 1, 2020

House Passes HR 7617 – 2nd FY 2021 Minibus

Yesterday the House approved HR 7617, the 2nd FY 2021 minibus, by a near party-line vote

 (12 Democrats voted Nay) of 217 to 184. Three of the four amendments I noted that I would be following were adopted on Thursday.


Amendments of Interest


The three of the four amendments that I was watching passed on Thursday as part of ‘en bloc’ amendment consideration:


83. Young (AK), Gabbard (HI), Gallego (AZ): Decreases the Defense Wide Operations and Maintenance account by $10 million and increases the Air Force Operations and Maintenance account by the same amount, for the ISR Operations Office to support the Cyber Operations for Base Resilient Architecture Pilot Program (en bloc #2, pgs H4129-34) .


221. Bera (CA): Decreases and increases funds by $1 million in the CDC Public Health Preparedness and Response account to urge CDC to integrate early warning surveillance data, such as network-connected devices like smart thermometers and pulse oximeters or symptom surveys, into its COVID-19 syndromic surveillance to help identify potential hotspots even before individuals present to a health care facility (en bloc #5, pgs H4150-69).


338. Stauber (MN), Emmer (MN), Lipinski (IL): Increases and decreases the PHMSA authorization by $1,000,000 to highlight the need to conduct a study of corrosion control techniques for leak prevention of regulated above ground storage tanks (en bloc #4, pgs H4143-50).


The fourth amendment was rejected as part of en bloc #3:


163. Gosar (AZ): Transfers $5 million from the Department of Energy's Departmental Administration account to the Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response account (en bloc #3, pgs H4134-9).


Moving Forward


Typically, the Senate does not directly take up spending bills from the House. While the House bill is debated in the Senate (spending bills are required by the Constitution to originate in the House)  the first item in the debate is substitute language taken from the appropriate spending bill(s) introduced by the Senate Appropriations Committee. That will not happen this year as that Committee has not been able to craft a single spending bill.


As I have noted before, we will be seeing a continuing resolution this year to continue current spending through into the new fiscal year, probably until sometime in December. What happens in the election in November will probably dictate what happens then. If Biden wins and the Democrats take ‘control’ of both Houses, we will likely see a second continuing resolution through to late January, dumping the problem on the Democrats. If the Democrats get 60+ seats (not completely beyond the realm of possibility this year), the Republicans in the Senate will probably try to push for a compromise spending bill before the end of the year; a filibuster proof majority would leave the Republicans without much influence in that situation.

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