House to tee up spending bills when recess ends

Source: George Cahlink, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017

When the House reconvenes next month, it will immediately consider a broad package of fiscal 2018 domestic spending bills, including the measure funding U.S. EPA and the Interior Department, Republican leaders signaled today.

GOP leaders announced the floor schedule for the week of Sept. 4, which will include consideration of eight of the 12 annual appropriations bills the chamber has yet to pass.

The Rules Committee posted the text of those eight combined bills today and said it will meet when the House returns to consider possible floor amendments.

Those amendments could potentially include bids to restore or further cut funding for EPA and add or strip out contentious environmental and land-use riders.

The Rules Committee set an Aug. 25 deadline for receiving amendments.

Republicans leaders are eager to have all 12 spending bills passed before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Their decision to place the package on the floor signals they believe they have the votes to pass it.

The eight-bill spending package will be combined in the House with already-passed security spending legislation, which contains funding for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Department and Homeland Security. Joining the eight domestic bills with the security package could help ease passage of the domestic bills in the House, with many conservatives loath to oppose any legislation linked to military funding.

Beyond the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies spending bill, the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development measures will make up the package.

The Senate has yet to consider any of the 12 spending bills.

As a result, Congress will need to pass a stopgap spending measure, also known as a continuing resolution, to guarantee temporary funding to agencies when the new fiscal year begins to avoid a government shutdown.