Appropriators agree 'in principle' on 2020 funding
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Dec 12, 2019
House and Senate appropriators said on Dec. 12 that they expect to put a bow on a funding package for the rest of fiscal year 2020 -- possibly before breaking for the holidays.
"We have an agreement on all 12 [2020 funding] bills," House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) told reporters after a Dec. 12 meeting on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said "we've had a good day," and added, "we've had some serious discussions and we believe that we're where we need to be." Shelby also said the Trump administration had sent Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to participate in discussions, indicating that the deal had the administration's blessing.
Lawmakers are working on a tight deadline and nothing is final until signed into law by the president. The current stopgap funding bill keeping government operational expires at midnight on Dec. 20 – the end of next week.
According to reports from the Capitol Hill press corps, the final deal includes $1.34 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall project that President Donald Trump sees as a signature issue. Disagreement over funding for the controversial project set the stage for the 35-day shutdown over the holidays this time last year. The amount is less than the $5 billion sought by the administration. Additionally, the deal does not backfill funding from defense and military construction projects that was diverted for use on the wall in fiscal year 2019.
Earlier in the day, the leaders of the House and Senate were holding out hope for a deal, but criticizing the other side for delays.
"Democratic leadership are continuing to delay a bipartisan agreement over appropriations," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor earlier on Dec. 12. " Even now, at the 11th hour, they are still threatening to potentially tank the process and force another continuing resolution. The story is the same as it’s been for months. Partisan policy demands. Poison pills."
"We're not going to have a shutdown of government. But as I mentioned, it would be useful if we can determine that now so that as we go forward the Senate will be able to take it up right away at the… middle of next week," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at her weekly press conference.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that next week the House and the Senate will have two or more packages of appropriations bills to debate and vote on.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.