On an 85-7 vote, the Senate approved its third “minibus” package of appropriations bills. The bill would authorize spending for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education, during the Federal government’s upcoming (FY 2019) fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2018.
With Thursday’s vote, the Senate has now passed nine of the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government beyond September 30. The $854 billion Labor-HHS-Defense-Education bill alone accounts for roughly 60% of the 2019 appropriations bills. The House of Representatives has completed work on all of its appropriations measures.
The Labor-HHS bill is largely good news for municipalities, with an increase in funding towards fighting opioid abuse, an increase in funding targeted at apprenticeship training programs, as well as a slight increase for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The bill also provides level funding for important programs previously suggested for elimination by the President’s FY19 budget proposal, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the LIHEAP program.
Hoping to avoid an eleventh-hour rush to pass a continuing resolution at the end of next month, or a government shutdown just weeks before the midterm elections, the Senate and House will still need to reconcile the differences between their respective appropriations bills. Eleven working days remain on the Congressional calendar before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. While there have been threats of a shutdown by the President, the Senate has been hard at work to prevent this from occurring. It is expected that there will likely be a continuing resolution for the three remaining spending bills, including the Homeland Security bill that will be the focus of debates over funding for immigration reform including a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x121.