Congress

Let the fiscal 2020 spending games begin

Appropriators will celebrate the end of recess with three subcommittee markups

As the appropriations season begins, Chairwoman Nita Lowey is writing the bills to a $664 billion defense limit and $631 billion nondefense limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee will kick off its markups of fiscal 2020 spending bills next week with the Labor-HHS-Education and likely the Military Construction-VA and Legislative Branch measures all going before their respective subcommittees.

The committee released a notice Thursday that the Labor-HHS-Education bill will be marked up in subcommittee on Tuesday, April 30, at 4.p.m. A schedule for that measure’s full committee markup hadn’t yet been announced, but it’s expected on May 8.

The full committee is also expected to approve suballocations, known as “302(b)” figures after their place in the 1974 budget law, for the 12 spending bills at that May 8 markup.

It’s possible the full committee will mark up Legislative Branch and Military Construction-VA the week of May 6 after subcommittee markups next week, but the schedule is still fluid, according to a person familiar with the process.

The Appropriations Committee is also looking at marking up the Defense bill soon, though no date has been set. Energy-Water also could be one of the first several bills to be marked up.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey is writing the bills to the $664 billion defense limit and $631 billion nondefense limit in legislation she wrote with House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth. That bill has not been brought to the floor, but the House adopted a “deeming” resolution that sets an overall discretionary topline of $1.295 trillion, corresponding with the total in the Yarmuth-Lowey measure.

Meanwhile the House also plans to take up a disaster relief supplemental on the floor the week of May 6, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said in a letter to House members Thursday.

The $17.2 billion supplemental spending package introduced earlier this month by Lowey would add $3 billion to respond to flooding in the Midwest and tornadoes that ripped through the Southeast this year to a $14.2 billion supplemental the House passed in January.

Senate Democrats and Republicans are still in talks about what kind of disaster aid package can get the 60 votes needed to pass that chamber. Movement has been slowed by a dispute over how much aid to provide to Puerto Rico. Senate Republicans went to the White House to discuss the matter with President Donald Trump before the two-week spring recess, and staff have been working to bridge the gap during the break.

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