Senate Appropriations Process Stalled for Foreseeable Future
Both the House and Senate are on schedule to finish voting all 12 appropriations bills out of committee, which if successful would be the first time in six years. However, the process is likely to remain stalled in the Senate, as Senate Democrats are expected to continue blocking appropriations bills from coming to the floor in order to force Republicans to negotiate a budget deal.
While President Obama has issued veto threats for several appropriations bills, Senate Democrats want to maintain some control over the appropriations process and expected budget negotiations by blocking the appropriations bills, even when it means difficult votes. Republicans forced Democrats to take a tough vote against the Defense Appropriations Bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he will “periodically” bring appropriations bills to the floor, and could bring the Defense Bill up for another vote to test Democrats’ resolve. However, Democrats have shown no signs of backing down from their current strategy.
Both Democrats and Republicans are already blaming any potential government shutdown on the other party, and any possible budget deal is likely months away. When Congress returns from the August recess, they will have only four weeks before the end of the fiscal year to pass a measure funding the federal government and averting a shutdown.
Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill on the House Floor
The House will continue to consider the $30.2 billion FY 2016 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill on the floor this week under modified open rule, ending further general debate but allowing amendments. Last week, House Republicans approved nine amendments to the bill that removed about $90 million from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental programs and management account and directed it towards the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This week House Republicans are expected to offer several policy riders to limit EPA environmental regulations. President Obama would likely veto the measure.
This Week’s Hearings:
FY 2016 Appropriations Committee/Subcommittee Markup Hearings
- Tuesday, July 7: The Senate Appropriations State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee will hold a markup of the FY 2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
- Wednesday, July 8: The House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2016 Appropriations 302(b) Allocations to the Subcommittees.
- Wednesday, July 8: The House Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
- Thursday, July 9: The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.