Legislative Activity

Last week, the House passed a $3.5 billion FY 2017 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill by a vote of 233-175, largely along party lines, after Speaker Paul Ryan brought the bill to the floor under a “structured rule” to limit amendments. Reversing his stance for an open amendment process, Speaker Ryan informed the GOP conference that all appropriations bills going forward would be considered under a similar structured rule, with only leadership-approved amendments being raised for a vote. This strategy is designed to avoid the chaos that ensued during House consideration of the FY 2017 Energy & Water Appropriations bill when disputes over amendments ultimately resulted in failure of the bill to pass. Neither Democrats nor conservative Republicans support the structured rule process.

Floor Consideration and Committee Work Continues

This week, the House will consider H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017, and a structured rule is expected. The legislation meets the overall defense spending limits set by law for fiscal year 2017, providing $517.1 billion in discretionary funding, which is an increase of $3 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $587 million below the President’s budget request.

The Commerce-Justice-Science will reportedly be brought up on the Senate floor this week, in combination with another FY 2017 bill, likely the Agriculture bill.

Appropriators will continue their efforts on FY 2017 spending bills as well. One of the most controversial appropriations bills, the Interior-Environment spending bill will be marked-up in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The House Appropriations Committee will also mark up its Homeland Security spending bill and the Senate Appropriations Committee will address its Financial Services spending bill.

The Senate and House agreed to go to conference to settle differences between funding levels for the federal response to the Zika virus. The Senate approved a $1.1 billion package last month, while the House approved a package of about $622 million with offsets.

This Week’s Hearings:

House Appropriations Committee

  • On Tuesday, June 14, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Homeland Security Bill and Report on the Revised Interim Suballocation of Budget Allocations.
  • On Wednesday, June 15, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill.

Senate Appropriations Committee

  • On Tuesday, June 14, the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill.
  • On Wednesday, June 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Governments Bill.
  • On Thursday, June 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill and the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill.

House Budget Committee

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the Committee on The Budget will conduct a hearing titled “The Need for Fiscal Goals.” The witnesses will be:

  • Mr. Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum;
  • Ms. Maya C. MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; and
  • Mr. Harry Stein, Director of Fiscal Policy, Center for American Progress

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the Committee on The Budget will conduct a hearing titled “Members’ Day: Budget Process Reform”. Witnesses will be the Members of the 114th Congress.