HomeWashington Letter2014 ▶ Senate Progress on Annual Spending Bills Stalled
Senate Progress on Annual Spending Bills Stalled

June 2014

The impending fall election is impacting the annual appropriations process, with the result that FY15 spending bills are now stalled in the Senate. Earlier this month, Senate Appropriations Committee ChairBarbara Mikulski (D-MD), pulled the health-spending bill, known as the Labor-Health and Human Services Bill (Labor-HHS), from full Appropriations Committee action due to disagreements over Republican-backed amendments on funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Labor-HHS Bill would provide the NIH with a $600-million increase in FY2015.

The Senate was also working to put together a "minibus" of other spending bills, including for the Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Energy and Water, and Interior and Environment departments, but late last week this effort broke down over Republican efforts to offer an ACA amendment to the Financial Services Bill and an amendment sponsored by Sen. McConnell (R-KY) to the bill that funds the EPA, known as the Interior-Environment Bill, that would require the Department of Energy to assess the economic impact of proposed EPA regulations.

Sen. Mikulski has stated that she will allow amendments to the appropriations bills if they are germane to the nature of each individual bill, but she and other Democrats have also voiced opposition to permitting votes that would then subject the spending bills to presidential veto threats. As of today, Senate leadership has not reached an agreement with Appropriations Committee Republicans on a process to move any of the bills forward.

It is now likely that Congress will run out of time before the start of FY15 on October 1 and will have to pass temporary spending measures, extending current funding into the new fiscal year.

Last Reviewed: October 2017