Senate appropriators wrap up 2019 markups

The Senate Appropriations Committee wrapped up its markups of all twelve 2019 spending bills Thursday, advancing the goal of a return to “regular order” in a budgetary process that has been widely derided for decades as dysfunctional.
“It appears the machinery of regular order is beginning to turn. However, we would be wise to remain mindful that our work is not complete until all of the bills are signed into law,” said the committee’s chairman, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
With its approval of the $179.3 billion Labor-HHS appropriations bill, the committee closed out a tight, six-week schedule for marking up all twelve bills. Of those, three have already passed the full Senate, while the House approved its fourth appropriations bill Thursday.
Still, challenges lay ahead to avoid a government shutdown when the 2019 fiscal year begins in October. 
While an agreement between Shelby and Vice Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to avoid so-called poison pill policy riders hurried the process along, House appropriators made no such deals. 
The House and Senate will have to work out the differences in their bills, though the Senate version is expected to be closer to the final result given the bipartisan support required to pass spending bills in the upper chamber.
Then there’s the question of President Trump, who vowed never to sign a massive omnibus spending package after reluctantly approving the belated $1.3 trillion 2018 spending package earlier this year. 
Congressional leaders are hoping to satisfy that demand without undoing a hard-fought spending deal by sending Trump a series of smaller bills. 
On Thursday, Republicans and Democrats in the House named conferees for the first set of three spending bills approved in both chambers. If they are able to work out the differences and send the spending “minibus” to Trump for signature, he would be able to avoid singing one mammoth bill.
Trump also threatened to veto any deal that does not fund his proposed border wall.
The Senate’s bill included $1.6 billion in funding for pedestrian fencing, as per the White House’s request, but Trump has demanded greater funding. 
On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly voted down a compromise immigration bill that included $25 billion in border wall funding.
Tags Donald Trump Patrick Leahy Richard Shelby

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