Dems put infighting aside to push ahead with spending bills

Dems put infighting aside to push ahead with spending bills
Democrats dove headfirst into 2020 spending bills this week, setting aside weeks of infighting to promote their appropriations agenda.
House panels on Wednesday advanced a $108.1 billion Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill and a $3.9 billion legislative branch measure, a day after a separate subcommittee approved a $189.8 billion spending bill for the departments of labor, education, and health and human services.
Democrats say they are aiming to pass all 12 spending bills by the end of June.
“House Democrats are committed to an orderly appropriations process that gets the people’s business done on time – and that includes the business of the People’s House,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyMixed feelings on war power limits: Lawmakers and vet candidates US officials, world leaders arrive in Israel for World Holocaust Forum  House revives agenda after impeachment storm MORE (D-N.Y.), referencing the legislative branch bill.
The turnaround follows months of intraparty fighting, in which progressives and moderates failed to reach agreement on both a budget resolution and a bill to increase spending caps.
Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa MORE (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she does not foresee her group interfering with spending bills in the coming months, and will instead focus efforts on the final package do be negotiated with the GOP-controlled Senate.
“I think there will be members who vote against different things for different reasons, but I think it will come down to the last set of negotiations,” she said.
Despite the fact that Democrats could not pass legislation to increase spending caps by $17 billion for defense and $34 billion for non-defense, compared with current levels, they are basing their spending legislation on those increased amounts.
Over in the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Roberts under pressure from both sides in witness fight GOP senator on Trump soliciting foreign interference: 'Those are just statements' MORE (R-Ala.) has not begun introducing spending bills. For now, he appears to be waiting for House and Senate leadership to come to an agreement on spending levels, which will inevitably differ from those being used in the House.
“While these appropriations bills support many programs that are important to our communities, they are inconsistent with the budget caps for next year,” said Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Ten days to Iowa Conservative Club for Growth backs Texas House Republican's primary challenger ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
The effort to reach a consensus on spending levels is complicated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE, whose own budget proposal seeks to keep the current spending caps in place. Doing so would impose steep cuts to both defense and non-defense programs, though the president proposed adding billions to defense spending through an off-book account.
Trump has more recently indicated he would prefer to see a continuing resolution that keeps current spending levels in place, though Congress would still have to pass legislation lifting the statutory spending caps to avoid deep cuts.