Senate Appropriations Efforts Slow to Start as End of Fiscal Year Looms
Both chambers of Congress returned to Washington following the annual August recess and, as COSSA has reported, they only have a few weeks to make progress on fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills before FY 2019 ends on September 30. At the time of this writing, the full House of Representatives has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills and the Senate has passed two bills out of the full Appropriations Committee.
While the Senate has jumped into appropriations upon returning from recess, with two bills approved in committee and consideration of 3 bills scheduled, there remains only about a handful of legislative days in the fiscal year. The Senate Appropriations Committee had scheduled a mark-up for the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health and Department of Education, among other programs, but after a disagreement on whether controversial amendments should be considered, the mark-up was postponed indefinitely. No further details have been released on when the bill will be considered.
Congress could face yet another government shutdown unless bills or a continuing resolution (CR) are passed by both chambers and signed by the President before the end of the month. Leadership in both chambers have publicly supported passing a CR to prevent a government shutdown, and the House is expected to vote this week on a measure to keep the government open until Thanksgiving. Senate leadership has not indicted when it plans to vote on stop-gap funding.
COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2020 House appropriations bills over the last several months. Check out our consolidated analysis of the FY 2020 bills for details.