Sarah Ferris, budget and appropriations reporter at Politico and David Hawkings, senior editor of CQ Roll Call, discuss the advancement of the Labor, Education and Health & Human Services appropriations bill, and how it could help budget negotiations in September.
Congress was buzzing with activity last week as the House Appropriations Committee advanced the spending bill for the departments of Labor, Education and Health & Human Services. The bill passed by a 30 to 22 vote. “It took 13 hours to get everything through, more than 50 amendments mostly from Democrats. A lot of it focused on the immigration crisis that’s been going on, figuring out how the Health and Human Services officials are handling the child migrant crisis situation there,” said Sarah Ferris, budget and appropriations reporter at Politico. “Going forward, we have the House picking up the pace on some of these bills. They’re going to be considering another two this week. That’s another of what they call a mini-bus. That’s going to see a vote this week, it’s expected to pass and Republicans seem pretty on board with it.” David Hawkings, senior editor of CQ Roll Call, says that the differences in the way appropriations is proceeding could lead to a smoother transition at the end of the fiscal year. “I think the Senate is really working it differently this year… I think it will improve the prospects for when we do get to September… No one is really expecting all 12 of the bills or maybe two of them might get done before the end of September. We are looking at another big package,” said Hawkings. “Each time we talked about this before, we’ve said ‘Oh, this is not wasted effort.’ It’s not as though when they negotiate the big deal in September, they are starting from scratch. All this effort will make the number of issues that could create a shutdown quite small.”