Congress expected to consider $146.5 billion government funding package this week

Congress expected to consider $146.5 billion government funding package this week

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

WASHINGTON — Congress this week is expected to consider a $146.5 billion appropriations package that would partially fund the government beyond Sep. 30.

“It is an absolute necessity that these key funding bills be approved by this Congress and signed into law. They provide resources for some of the most the important federal responsibilities, including our national defense, the care of our veterans, infrastructure improvements, and the proper functioning of the legislative branch of our democracy,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “This Conference Report represents our strong commitment to returning to ‘regular order’ in government funding, and is a huge step toward completing all of our Appropriations bills as soon as possible while funding all aspects of government in a responsible way.”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)

“Although it is not the bill Democrats would have written on our own, this minibus supports clean energy and transformational science programs, provides new resources to treat veterans suffering from the opioid epidemic, funds infrastructure improvements at VA facilities, and creates a new program to compensate House interns for their work,” House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “This minibus is also a victory for what it does not include: the extreme anti-environment riders included in the House-passed bills.”

House and Senate conferees reached an agreement Monday evening on a three-bill “minibus” package. The legislation includes $97 billion for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It includes $46 billion for energy and water programs as well as $4.8 billion for the legislative branch.

Congress passed a $3.1 trillion omnibus spending bill in March that President Donald Trump threatened to veto but ultimately signed. Trump has said he will never again sign such a large appropriations bill.

Congress responded by separating the appropriations bills.

The Senate worked through the August recess and passed 9 of the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government. The House adjourned for August recess and has only passed three of the bills. Both chambers must approve all 12 bills to ensure the government is fully funded.

Trump has threatened a government shutdown at the end of the month if Congress does not fully fund the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and fellow GOP congressional leaders have downplayed the threat of a shutdown, saying Trump will not follow through. They hope to postpone the fight over wall funding until after the November midterm elections.

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