House Appropriations Committee Plans to Move All Bills by Week’s End

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By Nancy Ognanovich

The House Appropriations Committee plans to have all nine of the remaining fiscal 2018 spending bills released and moving by week’s end, the panel’s head announced July 10.

Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) added to the schedule full-committee markups of the annual Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services bills on July 13. In addition, the committee announced markups at the subcommittee level for the Labor, Health, and Human Services and State-Foreign Operations bills later that day.

Combined with previously announced markups, the committee’s aggressive schedule reflects an effort to have all 12 of the FY18 bills reported soon and ready for floor action before lawmakers depart July 29 for a five-week recess. Just three have been reported so far. Full-committee markups of the Labor-HHS, State-Foreign Operations, and other bills are seen as possible the week of July 17, aides said.

The committee is under pressure to report the bills before the upcoming break as current government spending authority will expire Sept. 30. A similar effort is underway in the Senate, where the Appropriations Committee also is set to begin moving its versions of the bills before the recess.

The House actions will reveal Frelinghuysen’s decision on how to fully allocate $1.1 trillion in federal discretionary money. Minus a budget resolution for FY18, Frelinghuysen hasn’t officially received the 302(a) spending allocation and hasn’t shared with committee members a full set of the 302(b) allocations showing how he plans to distribute the funds over 12 subcommittees.

So far, members have seen allocations for only seven of the bills. However, the funding levels for the final five bills are expected to mostly reflect cuts, lawmakers said.

House Alternatives

Frelinghuysen and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the Labor-HHS subcommittee, said before the July 4 recess that GOP leaders may decide to roll all 12 bills into one omnibus and take it to the House floor. In the alternative, a “minibus” consisting of the $658 billion Department of Defense spending bill, the $88.8 billion Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, and others associated with security could be put to a floor vote, others said.

DOD, Milcon-VA, and the much smaller Legislative Branch bill are the three measures that so far have been reported from committee. However, the Energy and Water bill that Frelinghuysen’s committee is set to take up the morning of July 12 does provide resources for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons programs. It is scheduled to be marked up at 10:30 a.m. along with the annual Agriculture appropriations bill.

The C-J-S and Financial Services bills were marked up at the subcommittee level before the July 4 break but were late additions to the full-committee markup schedule. Frelinghuysen also now plans for all the remaining bills to move at the subcommittee level by week’s end.

First on tap is the annual Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill, which is scheduled to be marked up at 7 p.m. on July 11. The draft of the THUD bill is expected to be released late July 10.

Other subcommittee markups are scheduled as follows:

  •  Interior-Environment on July 12 at 3 p.m.
  •  Homeland Security on July 12 at 4:30 p.m.
  •  State-Foreign Operations on July 13 at 3 p.m.
  •  Labor-HHS on July 13 at 4:30 p.m.

As with THUD, drafts of all the bills are expected to be released 24 hours before the subcommittee markups.

Senate Moving Milcon-VA

Across Capitol Hill the Senate Appropriations Committee is still finishing its hearings but has scheduled its first subcommittee markup on July 12, with Milcon-VA planning to take up its bill at 2:30 p.m.

A full-committee markup of the measure is set for July 13 at 10:30 a.m. However, the full committee is said to be planning not to release its set of 302(b) allocations when it takes up the Milcon-VA bill.

Aides said the full panel is likely to mark up more of the bills in the following two weeks leading up to the August recess but also may leave some of them for September.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Ognanovich in Washington at nognanov@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com

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