If it works, House GOP basically needs all members on board to vote yes.
Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has started to apply pressure on those in her party to oppose the GOP “minibus” spending package that will likely hit the floor on Friday.
The minibus bill has “three appropriation bills: Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.” Rejecting this bill could lead to a shutdown.
From The Washington Examiner:
“The GOP mini-bus package on the Floor this week is partisan, wrong-headed and dangerous,” Pelosi wrote to fellow Democrats.
“House Democrats’ strong opposition to Republicans’ cynical strategy last year gave us powerful leverage in the omnibus,” Pelosi wrote to Democrats. “That leverage enabled us to fight off Republicans’ poison pill riders and secure dramatic increases in funding for key priorities, such as veterans, health and biomedical research, the opioid crisis, education and child care, and election security. That included nearly doubling funding for Child Care Development Block Grants, achieving a $3 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, and providing $380 million in Election Security Grants.”
Politico and The Hill both described this bill as “noncontroversial.” Plus, passing a minibus allows “Congress to avoid a yearslong habit of passing nearly all federal spending in one massive omnibus package.”
If the bill does not pass then the lawmakers “could be forced to consider another omnibus measure before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.”
(How about we stop spending?)
With this move, the Democrats will force the GOP to negotiate within their own ranks to receive the 218 votes to pass the bill. The GOP had a few problems with caucuses in the past on other spending bills.
The House Freedom Caucus doesn’t know if its members will support the bill according to The Washington Examiner:
Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said he fears the House is following a strategy that will hold the most difficult-to-pass bills for much later in the year, leaving little time for a resolution and requiring a last-minute omnibus once again.
“If you start off with the easy ones to pass we’re going to end up with an omnibus in September,” Meadows said. “For me, I want to see what the ultimate strategy is. We’re not taking an official position. I think we’ve got to get back together and talk to some of our folks.”
The move surprised some Republicans because the minibus bill provides “funding for popular programs like Veterans Affairs and the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Pelosi opposes provisions in each bill like “permitting firearms on land controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and language that would repeal an Obama-era water regulation and place new limitations on the Clean Water Act.” Democrats objected to the firearms provision, but the other two passed the spending panel unanimously. So it’s hard to tell if Pelosi’s plea will work.
Details on Defense Spending
The House Appropriations Committee scheduled a markup session for Thursday. It unveiled the bill on Wednesday, which has a total of $674.6 billion for the Pentagon. Here are the details from The Hill:
The bill would provide $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year’s spending level.
The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.
The money would pay for a boost of 15,600 troops across the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members, both matching what was requested by the administration.
The bill would also provide $145.7 billion for equipment purchases and upgrades. That’s split $133 billion for base requirements — or $2.5 billion more than requested — and $12.7 billion in OCO.
The procurement money includes $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships, two more ships than the administration requested. The two extra ships are littoral combat ships, which Congress continues to support buying — despite the Navy’s plan to transition away from the ship — so that shipyards keep working and will be able to keep pace on future orders.
The bill would also fund a slew of aircraft, including $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets and $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.
The bill includes funding for the procurement of 16 more F-35s than requested. The plane is built by Lockheed Martin in defense appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger’s (R-Texas) district.
Pushback From White House
The White House didn’t exactly threaten to veto the House bill, but it does not approve of the bill. From The Hill:
“The Administration strongly supports the overall Defense levels included in the BBA. However, given the Nation’s long-term fiscal constraints and the need to right-size the Federal Government, the Administration does not support the BBA’s non-Defense cap of $597 billion, $57 billion above the FY 2019 Budget,” the White House wrote in a statement of administration policy.
In its letter, the administration suggested a series of cuts to nondefense programs in the three appropriations bills that are being considered together in a so-called “mini-bus” package. The suggestions largely reiterated the requests made in the president’s budget proposal, which Congress has largely ignored.
President Donald Trump told Congress in March that he “will never sign another bill like this again” when he signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus package.DONATE
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