Senate panel cancels vote on key spending bill amid standoff

By Sylvan Lane

Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday canceled votes on two spending bills that had been scheduled for the following day, marking the latest sign of turmoil as lawmakers try to fund the government beyond Sept. 30.

The panel had been scheduled to vote Thursday on spending bills covering the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education, as well as the State Department and foreign operations.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told a small group of reporters on Tuesday that he was likely to cancel the panel vote on the legislation unless he could work out a deal with Democrats on how to proceed.

Why it matters: Senators are racing to finish off a series of 12 spending bills ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline to fund the federal government. The HHS-Labor-Education bill is considered a key priority for Democrats, but became a headache this week because of fights on controversial issues including abortion and President Trump’s border wall.
Democrats threaten to vote against Defense bill over border wall: Senate Democrats are also threatening to withhold their votes on a spending bill for the Pentagon unless Republicans agree to block Trump from repurposing defense funds for his wall on the Mexican border, a tactic he’s employed in recent months.

  • Democrats on Thursday will offer an amendment in committee to block Trump from reprogramming defense funds for his wall.
  • While the bill could squeak through the committee with only GOP support, Democratic votes will be needed for the measure to win Senate approval.


On tap today

  • The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing entitled “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 3: The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition,” 9 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Artificial Intelligence holds a hearing on data security in the financial services industry,  9:30 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing entitled “Developments in Global Insurance Regulatory and Supervisory Forums,” 10 a.m.
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