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Advocacy at a Glance

June 24, 2019

Confused By the Budget and Appropriations Process? This week’s Analysis and Commentary explains how the government is funded and why this year’s activities have been hard to follow.

House Likely to Finish Ag/FDA Appropriations on June 22 or 23. By next Tuesday or Wednesday, the House should be finished with H.R 3055, a five-bill minibus that provides about $380 billion in spending for Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD.  At that point, the House will have completed nine of the 12 appropriations bills and will wait for the Senate to pass bills that cover the same agencies as the House. Before adjournment on Friday, the House is expected to have completed consideration of 228 of the 290 amendments that will be offered, setting up completion by the middle of next week.

House Disposition of Amendments to H.R. 3055: Little Change for FDA. As of Thursday night, the House had finished all of the amendments to Part B (Ag/FDA funding). There were two FDA amendments — one related to cannabidiol (adopted by voice vote as part of the Manager’s amendment) and the other to homeopathic drugs (withdrawn). There were also two amendments that would have made across-the-board cuts to all Part B programs. A proposal for a 3.7% cut was withdrawn and an amendment for a 14% cut was defeated 113 to 308.

In Other House Appropriations Action: Bills Are Moving. This week, the House passed H.R. 2740. It included four FY 20 spending bills, totaling nearly $1 trillion: Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy-Water Development. Once action is completed on H.R. 3055, the House may consider one or more of the remaining three bills: Department of Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and Treasury-IRS. Leadership’s goal has been to have all 12 spending bills completed in the House before the end of June. However, there are already indications that Homeland Security will not be ready before the July 4 recess.

Senate: Deeming Numbers by July 1 If No Budget Deal. House and Senate leaders met with the President’s team this week to discuss a budget deal. No near-term resolution is expected. As a result, the Senate is prepared to “deem” a set of budget numbers and proceed in July to mark-up appropriations bill. This allows the process to move forward and Senators to sort out their priorities, but everyone understands that final adjustments will be needed once there is a budget deal that provides definitive spending amounts and constraints. Senate leadership has said only that they would be starting with lower aggregate numbers than the House.

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