Legislative Activity

FY 2015 Appropriations Action

Regular order in the appropriations process once again seems to have fallen victim to election-year partisanship and political positioning. With fewer than 14 legislative days left before the August recess, a Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the government at least into the lame duck session is quickly becoming more than just a possibility.

House and Senate appropriators continue to process bills through the committee – albeit at a much slower pace than when they started – laying the foundation for a possible omnibus bill in the lame duck session. Following this week’s full committee markup of the Interior and Environment spending bill, the House Appropriations Committee will have approved all but one of its FY 2015 appropriations bills, the Labor-HHS-Education bill. Last week, subcommittee chair Jack Kinston (R-GA) conceded the uncertainty that the bill will even make it through the subcommittee because of opposition to the bill – for differing reasons – by both parties (scheduling of the markup is further complicated by Rep. Kingston’s July 22 runoff election for the Republican nomination for Georgia’s open Senate seat). The House will bring its seventh FY 2015 appropriations bill to the floor this week when it begins consideration of the Financial Services spending bill (H.R. 5016/ H. Rept. 113-508) on Wednesday.

Senate appropriators will likely approve the FY 2015 Defense Appropriations bill this week, but the remainder of the Senate process is effectively stalled due to anticipated contentious amendments on Administration priorities and reluctance of Senate leaders to force controversial election-year votes for vulnerable Democrats. As previously reported, the AG-CJS-THUD minibus was pulled from the floor for this reason and full committee consideration of the Energy & Water and Financial Services bills was delayed as well. The Interior and Environment and Labor-HHS-Education bills have yet to be scheduled for subcommittee action.

Emergency Supplemental

Last week’s submission by the White House of a $3.7 billion emergency supplemental request to address the child migrant crisis at the southern border has further complicated the FY 2015 appropriations process. Senate appropriators held a review of the proposal last week and House appropriators may do so in the coming weeks, but it is unclear when or if a legislative package will develop. House Republicans would prefer to include spending to address the crisis in the FY 2015 appropriations process (in fact, several of the pending House FY 2015 appropriations bills already include funding to address components of the President’s proposal).

This Week’s Hearings

Senate Appropriations Committee Hearings

  • Tuesday, July 15: The Defense Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2015 appropriations bill.
  • Wednesday, July 16: The Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing “Strengthening Trade Enforcement to Protect American Enterprise and Grow American Jobs.”
  • Thursday, July 17: Full committee markup of the FY 2015 Defense Appropriations bill.

House Appropriations Committee Hearings

  • Tuesday, July 15: The Defense Subcommittee will hold a CLOSED budget hearing on Overseas Contingency Operations Funding.
  • Tuesday, July 15: Full Committee markup of the FY 2015 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

House Budget Committee Hearings

  • Wednesday, July 16: Full committee hearing “The Long-Term Budget Outlook.”
  • Thursday, July 17: Full committee hearing on the President’s Funding Request for Overseas Contingency Operations.