Democrats move funding bills as budget caps deal remains elusive

By Sylvan Lane

Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive: House Democrats are set to move funding for most of the federal government this week, even as lawmakers have struggled to reach a budget caps deal.

  • The two packages, known as “minibuses,” will cover nine of the 12 individual appropriations bills that Congress needs to pass by Oct. 1 in order to avoid the second government shutdown of the year.
  • The House will start work on the bills Tuesday, as lawmakers got a late start to the week; both the House and Senate only held brief, pro-forma sessions Monday.

The House will take up two funding packages:

  • A roughly $1 trillion package that includes labor, health and human services, education, defense, state, foreign operations and energy and water development
  • And a separate $383 billion package that includes commerce, justice, science, agriculture, rural development, the Food and Drug Administration, interior, environment, military construction, veterans affairs, transportation, and housing and urban development.

The snag: The House is moving along its funding bills, but the Senate Appropriations Committee hasn’t moved any of the 12 spending measures needed to fund the government.

Senate leadership in both parties are trying to reach a deal with the White House to increase the defense and nondefense spending caps. Lawmakers would use the agreement to set top-line numbers for their appropriations bills.

Without a caps deal, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration will kick back in early next year. Lawmakers warn that the cuts would be draconian to both defense and nondefense spending and are hoping to get an agreement now to try to clear the barn ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke tell us about the state of play.

Read more: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pledging to force a vote on President Trump’s $4.5 billion request for emergency border money, regardless of whether or not the GOP can reach a deal with Democrats. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are trying to prevent Trump from being able to redirect Defense Department funding to construction of his border wall.

 

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