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House Democrats set tight schedule for 2021 spending bills

House Democrats set tight schedule for 2021 spending bills
© Stefani Reynolds

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency This week: Trump's grip on Hill allies faces test Trump signs .3T relief, spending package MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday announced an ambitious schedule to mark up and pass all 12 2021 spending bills over a four-week period in July.

The 12 subcommittees and full committee will mark up the bills in the first two full weeks of July, and work to pass all the bills in the latter two weeks of the month.

"It will be an extremely busy month, which is nothing new for our committee," Lowey wrote in a letter to fellow appropriators.

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The order and packaging of the bills have yet to be decided, but the process is likely to kick off with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education bill, which is the largest nondefense spending bill of the bunch.

The House bills are likely to advance along party lines, setting up a standoff with the Senate, which needs bipartisan support to advance its spending bills.

The Senate, however, has not yet laid out a timeline for its appropriations process. Last year, it was significantly delayed as it waited for overall spending levels to be set. That process laid out caps for both 2020 and 2021, but differences often surface in how the committees allocate the funds among the 12 bills, and how much extra spending is tucked in through various budget gimmicks.

Congress has until the end of September to fund the government for fiscal 2021, which begins Oct. 1, to prevent a funding lapse or shutdown. But it seldom succeeds in getting that job done on time, and some or all of the funding areas require temporary extensions to keep the government running.

In election years, the issue is frequently punted beyond the November election.