Minibus Leaves The Station

2017-07-31T15:30:26+00:00 July 31, 2017|
Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) was outraged by the minibus spending package. (Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

(Click to enlarge) Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) was outraged by the minibus spending package. (Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the House passed an appropriations “minibus” (H.R. 3219) in a mostly-partisan 235-192 vote.

The minibus combines the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch appropriations bills; Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) said the package “ensure[s] the safety of the homeland and the American people.” An effort from several Democrats, led by Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-1), to reverse the National Ocean Policy implementation funding prohibition was rejected 192-235.

However, even Republican backers say the bill is not likely to become law because it breaches the current defense spending cap (set in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011) by $72.5 billion. To raise this cap for defense spending (and for non-defense spending), a bipartisan budget deal would need to be passed. If spending caps are exceeded, that would prompt sequestration, or automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of 13 percent that would, in turn, cut $72 billion in defense spending. Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) was outraged by the spending package, saying, “All the promises of Republican leadership of returning to regular order have been broken.” The House will return to the floor from their August recess on September 5, when they will have 12 legislative days to alter these spending caps and pass the remaining appropriations bills, before the new fiscal year begins on October 1.