Richard C Shelby

Appropriators seek to wrap up talks this weekend
But panel members acknowledge ‘hurdles’ as Dec. 20 deadline for bill passage looms

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, on Thursday said he was “more enthusiastic than I was a couple of days ago” that final negotiations on spending bills could be done this weekend. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Spending bill negotiators set their sights on wrapping up a year-end deal by this weekend, but they differed on how realistic that deadline might be.

With only two weeks left before current funding runs dry, appropriators are hoping to finalize work on all 12 spending bills and pass them by Dec. 20 to avoid another stopgap measure or possible government shutdown. But unless a deal comes together in the next several days, lawmakers have warned, there likely won’t be enough time to write the bills and move them through both chambers before the holiday recess.

Appropriators set Friday deadline for unresolved issues
Signals renewed intent to get a spending bill deal completed before the holiday recess

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says finalizing all 12 spending bills would be a “monumental task.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Individual spending bill negotiators are attempting to resolve lingering disputes this week before kicking any final disagreements upstairs.

Subcommittee heads have until Friday to give Appropriations Committee leadership a list of the sticking points that must be settled to complete work on fiscal 2020 bills, lawmakers said Wednesday.

House pushes ‘dozen bills or none’ approach to spending talks
GOP senators express doubts as House leaders insist on finalizing appropriations by Dec. 20

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says he doubts that all 12 overdue spending bills for the current fiscal year could be finalized before the Dec. 20 deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders are insisting that all 12 overdue spending bills for the current fiscal year must be finalized before any of them can reach the floor, according to sources familiar with strategy talks.

The demand for some kind of grand bargain could complicate hopes for completion of at least a portion of fiscal 2020 appropriations before stopgap funding runs dry on Dec. 20 and Congress adjourns for the winter holidays. 

House, Senate reach agreement on subcommittee spending levels
The 12 subcommittees are expected to begin working on the fiscal 2020 bills immediately

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., talks with reporters in July. Lowey and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby have reportedly reached an agreement on subcommittee allocations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The appropriations process appeared to get back on track Saturday after House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby reached an agreement on subcommittee allocations, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations.

The accord is a positive sign for appropriators, who have been waiting for months to learn how much of the $1.37 trillion in fiscal 2020 funding they would have to spend on each of their bills.

Trump signs stopgap bill, fending off shutdown for now
Continuing resolution will fund government, avoid shutdown, through Dec. 20

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., was guardedly optimistic about working out differences over policy riders and programmatic spending levels. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump signed a monthlong spending bill Thursday, hours before government funding had been set to expire at midnight.

The continuing resolution funds the government through Dec. 20, giving appropriators more time to hash out numerous divides over policy riders and programmatic spending levels. It’s the second time Congress has needed to pass a temporary spending bill since fiscal 2020 began Oct. 1.

Senate holds off on vote avoiding shutdown, keeps stopgap funding vehicle
Sen. David Perdue announced the Senate would instead vote at 11:30 a.m. Thursday to send the stopgap bill directly to the president’s desk

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., exits the Senate subway in May. Lankford and other senators are working to pass a continuing resolution, averting a Thursday shutdown and giving the House and Senate more time to come up with compromise versions of fiscal 2020 spending bills to the president’s desk next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate no longer plans to change the legislative vehicle for a monthlong stopgap spending bill, following hours of back-and-forth discussions Wednesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hoped to change the legislative vehicle and approve the temporary funding bill by the end of the day.

House votes to avoid shutdown, continue spending talks until December
The measure passed the House on a largely party-line vote, 231-192

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee arrives in the Capitol for a meeting with House and Senate appropriators in an effort to revive spending talks and avert a second shutdown on Feb. 11, 2019. Another shutdown loomed Tuesday as the House sent a continuing resolution to the Senate, which would keep the government open until December. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress moved closer to clearing another stopgap funding bill Tuesday, after the House voted to send the continuing resolution to the Senate.

The bill would stave off a funding lapse that would have begun when the current continuing resolution expires Thursday night. Once signed, it would provide lawmakers and the Trump administration another four weeks to try to reach agreement on the dozen annual spending bills that have stalled amid debate about border wall spending and how best to divide up $1.37 trillion in fiscal 2020 spending.

House to take up Dec. 20 stopgap measure Tuesday
House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling

Disputes over potential add-ons between lawmakers in Congress and the White House on Monday was holding up a potential deal to pass a monthlong stopgap funding measure needed to avoid a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is moving forward to quickly take up a monthlong continuing resolution that would extend temporary funding levels for federal agencies. The measure will be on the floor Tuesday, according to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling over special additions. The measure would replace the current CR, which expires Nov. 21, with a new deadline of Dec. 20 to finish up fiscal 2020 spending bills. 

Mnuchin emerges, again, as key player in budget talks
Treasury secretary reprises role he played when he helped broker July agreement

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is again surfacing as the Trump administration’s liaison with Congress in spending negotiations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Imitation Bernie, peeking on camera and too many Alaskans of the Week: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 4, 2019

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., leaves the Senate Republicans’ lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)