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.
 
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“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 LoweyCongress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure Overnight Defense: Trump says Taliban talks 'dead' after canceled Camp David meeting | North Korea offers to restart nuke talks this month | Trump denies role in Air Force crew staying at his resort McConnell: Short-term spending bill needed to avoid shutdown 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 JayapalPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Overnight Health Care: Watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children | Judge approves B CVS-Aetna merger | House Dem Caucus chair backs 'Medicare for All' 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 ShelbyCongress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine House to vote on measure keeping government open until Nov. 21 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 GrangerLobbying world House approves bill increasing federal worker pay House approves 3 billion spending package 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 TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty 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.