Legislative Activity

Senate and House to Focus on Appropriations Bills Under New Caps

Following the recent two-year budget and debt ceiling agreement, The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the House and Senate are now working under new discretionary caps, increased by $50 billion for FY 2016 and equally divided between defense and non-defense programs.

The Senate is now bringing appropriations bills to the Floor under revised 302(b) allocations and is focusing on the appropriations bills that the House has passed. The Senate approved the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) appropriations bill last week by a vote of 93-0. The bill provides $80 billion for MilCon/VA programs, $1 billion more than President Obama requested and $2 billion more than the original Senate Appropriations Committee bill. This week, the Senate is expected to turn its focus to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, with the hope of passing the bill before the Thanksgiving recess.

Meanwhile, the House will conduct listening sessions this week for the six appropriations bills that were not already approved on the Floor. The Members-only sessions will provide an opportunity for Members to ask questions or provide input on the measures. It is not clear whether the Republican Leadership will bring the individual bills to the Floor for votes, or if they will instead combine them together in one or more packages. The listening sessions have been scheduled for the following dates:

  • Tuesday, November 17: Financial Services and General Government
  • Wednesday, November 18: Interior and Environment Departments
  • Wednesday, November 18: Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration
  • Wednesday, November 18: Homeland Security Department
  • Thursday, November 19: Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Departments
  • Thursday, November 19: State Department and Foreign Operations

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, November 18: The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled “Does Biennial Budgeting Fit in a Rewrite of the Budget Process?”