FY 2018 News & Resources

This resource bank contains FY 2019 budget cycle news articles, op-eds, editorials, blogs, press releases and other resources from Clean Budget Coalition members and allies. Use the controls below to search, sort and filter.

Trump Tells GOP He Won't Sign Stopgap, Threatening Shutdown

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that President Trump will not sign a stopgap spending bill over concerns about border security, a decision that significantly increases the risk of a government shutdown. “The president informed us that he will not sign the bill,” Ryan told reporters at the White House after meeting with Trump. Trump’s choice effectively torpedoes a spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8, but does not provide additional funding for his long-desired wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Lawmakers have until the end of Friday to reach a new agreement or funding will lapse for the Department of Homeland Security and six other government agencies.

Senate Approves Funding Bill, Preventing Partial Government Shutdown

The Senate approved a seven-week funding bill on Wednesday, preventing a partial government shutdown that was expected to begin on Saturday. Senators passed the legislation by voice vote, which represented the final item on the Senate's to-do list as they wrap up their work for the year this week. It still needs to pass the House, which returned to Washington on Wednesday night, and be signed by President Trump. Republican senators say that while they believe Trump is unhappy with Congress passing a short-term fix, they believe he will sign it because they were able to keep other controversial policy riders off of it. "I think the message is don't add anything else to it," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican. "He's not happy about that [a continuing resolution] but he understands the reality." The stopgap bill, which will fund roughly 25 percent of the federal government, kicks the funding deadline from Dec. 21 to Feb. 8, avoiding dragging a partial shutdown fight into the Christmas holiday. A vote on the bill was temporarily held up Wednesday over a fight on whether or not to include a land and water measure, which has been stalled amid negotiations for months. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is also pushing for legislation benefiting miners to be attached to the short-term spending package.

Senate Clears Feb. 8 Continuing Resolution, Sends to the House

McConnnell’s CR at this point doesn’t include any other riders, amendments or anomalies, making it easier to clear the Senate and likely the House. But it’s unclear what other amendments or anomalies members will try to attach to the CR over the next two days.

Feinstein, Sanders Urge Senate Not to Include Anti-BDS Law in Spending Bill

Two leading US senators on Wednesday urged Senate leaders not to include controversial legislation targeting boycotters of Israel in an end-of-year spending bill that must pass to keep the government running. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Bernie Sanders, both Jewish, warned that including the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” in the bill would infringe upon free speech and violate Senate officials’ commitment to “oppose controversial riders on appropriations bills.”

Poll: Trump and GOP to Get More Blame for Shutdown Over Wall Dispute

Americans have a clear message to Washington as the government hurtles toward a partial shutdown on Friday: Don't. By a double-digit margin, 54 percent to 29 percent, those surveyed in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll say they oppose the shutdown that President Trump has threatened if Congress doesn't agree to his demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall. Who would bear the blame? By nearly 2-1, Americans would blame Trump and the Republicans, not congressional Democrats. Forty-three percent would blame the president and the GOP, while 24 percent would hold congressional Democrats responsible. Thirty percent would blame both sides equally responsible.

The Year Ahead: A New Round of Spending Fights

Depending on what happens in the next few weeks, 2019 could kick off with a government shutdown. Congressional Democrats and Trump have dug in their heels over the president's demand for border wall funding, which could lead to a late-year shutdown if they fail to reach a deal by December 21. Trump has demanded $5 billion, but Democrats want to maintain last year’s funding levels for Homeland Security, which would provide $1.3 billion in funds to fencing. The new year could feasibly roll in with a partial government shutdown if the sides fail to reach a compromise, but there are already discussions underway for short-term stopgaps to push the fight into January. Once the 2019 spending fight ends, attention will immediately turn toward fiscal 2020, where a bevy of controversies await Congress. First, Democrats and Republicans will have to agree to new spending caps, without which there would be sharp spending cuts under the terms of the Budget Control Act. Congress is expected to give moderate boosts to both defense and non-defense spending. In the House, incoming Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) has said that she wants to follow the example the Senate set this year and exclude so-called poison pills--controversial policy riders--from the appropriations process. Once topline spending numbers are agreed upon, that could ease the way for a fairly swift appropriations process.

Hensarling, Waters Bill Stalls Amid Dispute With Trump Administration

As Congress prepares to leave town in the coming days, Democrats are opposing efforts to attach the legislation to a year-end government funding bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Waters' counterpart at the Senate Banking Committee, is trying to stop the bill from being attached to must-pass government funding legislation, which in past years has been a vehicle for riders to tweak financial regulation." Sen. Brown strongly opposes efforts to stuff dozens of special interest provisions into the year-end spending bill," said his Banking Committee spokesperson, Ashley Lewis.

Shutdown Fears Abound, Despite Temporary Reprieve

Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve. President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday. While many lawmakers are publicly expressing confidence a shutdown will be avoided, aides speaking on condition of anonymity said there is a widespread fear that the talks will collapse and lead to a shutdown. At the same time, there appears to be little appetite for a shutdown among Democrats and Republicans in Congress, especially days before Christmas and weeks before Democrats take control of the House. Republicans have taken the blame for shutdowns in 1995-1996, and again in 2013.

House Republican Partisan Riders Could Poison Federal Budget Talks

The long awaited end of year budget battle has arrived, and as usual it is coming down to the wire. You may have heard that the fight is over funding for the border wall called for by President Trump. But there is another key set of sticking points standing in the way of a bipartisan deal. They are known as poison pill riders, which are harmful and controversial measures that have nothing to do with funding our government. Some lawmakers try to sneak poison pill riders into budget and appropriations bills, thus undemocratically bypassing the normal legislative process.

Congress Approves Short-Term Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

The U.S. Congress on Thursday approved a two-week stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, setting up a potential showdown over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall later this month. Without action by Congress, funding for several federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Department of Homeland Security, had been set to expire this week. The stopgap bill extends funding through Dec. 21.

Congress Agrees to Put Off Government Shutdown Deadline to Dec. 21

Congressional leaders and White House officials agreed Monday to extend a government funding deadline by two weeks, until Dec. 21, setting up the possibility of a shutdown showdown just ahead of Christmas. The decision, confirmed by aides involved in the talks, was made because of the observances surrounding the death of former president George H.W. Bush. The former president will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda ahead of a service at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday. The House has canceled all votes for this week. The current deadline is midnight on Friday, Dec. 7. The House and Senate are expected to approve the new deadline at some point this week. That could be done in the House by unanimous consent, without lawmakers present to vote.

Lawmakers Delay Lame-Duck Endgame

Congress is expected to temporarily put off a funding fight this week that could have forced agencies, including EPA and the Interior Department, to shutter as the nation mourns the late President George H.W. Bush. Congressional leaders are hoping to put off a partial government shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline by passing a one- to two-week continuing resolution. With almost a quarter of the House not coming back in January, lawmakers are eager to wrap up work as soon as possible. Neither party wants to push the fight into next year. Lawmakers are eyeing an omnibus that would contain all seven of the unfinished fiscal 2019 spending measures, including Interior-EPA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, Transportation-HUD and State-Foreign Operations. Several spending bills, including for Energy-Water, were signed into law before Election Day. But those negotiations have been hobbled by the White House's insistence that the bill contain $5 billion in funding for border wall security sought by Trump. Appropriators have said the other spending bills are ready to move, devoid of most controversial riders, once the border funding fight is resolved.

Time Is Running Out to Avert a Government Shutdown

As a lame-duck Congress heads into its dwindling session, legislators are being forced to reckon with the continuing resolutions passed to fund government activities earlier this year: They expire on December 7, at which point Congress needs to pass a real appropriations bill to keep the government open. Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads over what’s going to be in that bill — and the result could be a partial government shutdown. Again. Congress must take up seven separate spending bills – each with its own riders and heated debate — and get them signed by the president.

Leahy, Clean Budget Leaders Call on Congress to Reject Poison Pills in December Spending Bills

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, and leaders from the Clean Budget Coalition are calling on Congress to reject partisan, poison pills attached to the December spending bills. In a conference call recorded Thursday afternoon, Leahy and coalition leaders discussed the threat posed by harmful ideological and corporate policy riders that do not belong in federal funding legislation. Congress must act by Dec. 7 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Partisan Poison Pills Don’t Belong in December Appropriations Bills

A diverse array of groups in the Clean Budget Coalition sent a letter today urging members of Congress to remove all of the partisan, poison pill policy riders from the December appropriations bills. While most of the government is funded for fiscal year 2019, a package of four appropriations bills has been stuck in conference committee negotiations since September, and Congress must act by Dec. 7 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Congress Should Pass FY 2019 Appropriations Bills With No Poison Pill Riders

Time and time again, members of Congress attempt to quietly slip in corporate special interest wish list items that couldn’t pass as standalone legislation into must-pass funding packages as poison pill riders, and our champions have stood firm in opposition. We ask that you take that stance as Congress processes the remaining FY19 appropriations bills.

The Road to a Spending Showdown Is Paved With Cigars, Guns and Horses

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week without an agreement on a year-end spending package that would wrap up seven unfinished bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Reaching a deal would require a lot of work in a very short period of time. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session for only eight legislative days before a stopgap funding law runs dry on Dec. 7. If no new package is passed by then, Congress would need another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown. The outstanding bills for fiscal 2019 encompass about 25 percent of the year’s $1.244 trillion in discretionary spending subject to budget limits. But the two parties are as divided as ever over how to parcel out the remaining $313 billion available under the budget caps and handle a collection of policy riders written chiefly by majority House Republicans who will be out of power come January.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall

Ultimately, the question of what happens to the remaining fiscal 2019 spending bills, and when, boils down to the following question: Can lawmakers reach a deal with the White House on some level of wall-related funding between the $5 billion in the House’s Homeland Security measure for “technology and physical barriers” and the Senate’s $1.6 billion worth of “pedestrian fencing”? There are early indications that Trump and Hill Democrats are ready to deal. In his post-midterm press conference, Trump said he wouldn’t necessarily accept a partial shutdown if the spending bill due Dec. 7 doesn’t have the full $5 billion. “I can’t commit to that,” Trump said. And on Monday, Leahy said his party was ready to talk more broadly about additional border security needs. “I’m willing to make some compromises provided we can get it done,” he said. But Leahy hinted that Democrats are ready to play a little “Art of the Deal” themselves if Trump makes some other concessions. “I’d want to see where it’s being spent . . . I can’t speak for my whole caucus, but there are a whole lot of aspects that are involved here, not the least of which are all the poison-pill riders in the House bill,” Leahy said.

Murkowski Readies for Divided Congress; Favors Bringing Back Earmarks

Budget bills require a 60-vote minimum before reaching the Senate floor, so passing them usually requires significant compromise. Congress had approved bills covering roughly 75 percent of 2019 discretionary spending before breaking for Election Day, according to Murkowski, who said most of the appropriations packages passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support. The remaining agencies are funded through Dec. 7. The key to restarting normal budgeting order, which had been mostly dead since about 2010, was getting rid of “poison-pill” riders — partisan policy mandates often attached to the appropriations bills — that can immediately kill otherwise popular legislation.

Trump’s Border Wall Demand Raises the Prospect of Another Shutdown

The top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee told reporters Monday that new border security funds must be used for fencing rather than a 30-foot concrete wall as Trump has advocated. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said money for the border can’t be shifted from other domestic priorities, and that for both sides to cut a year-end funding deal the GOP must drop “poison pill” policy riders and adequately fund disaster relief for recent hurricanes and wildfires.

Trump Signed Bill Heading Off Government Shutdown — and Hardly Anyone Noticed

On September 28, Trump signed a giant appropriations bill that also prevented a government shutdown over border wall funded until December. Other than conservatives angry about abortion funding, no one much noticed, thanks to the Kavanaugh hearings. As congressional Republicans kept reassuring us all and each other, Trump was bluffing, and so he signed that “ridiculous Spending Bill” in what amounted to peaceful silence as Washington hung on every word from Kavanaugh and Ford and Flake and Graham and all the other characters in the confirmation drama. Government employees affected by the non-shutdown and the specific provisions of the appropriations measures noticed, of course. And so, too, did Christian-right types who were angry that their pet appropriations riders were left out. Here was the headline from CNS News on the story about the bill: “Trump Signs ‘Minibus’-CR That Funds Planned Parenthood and Aborted Baby-Parts Research.” Some of the same disgruntled conservatives may hope that Trump opts for a government shutdown when the continuing resolution runs out in December. It may be all they want for Christmas. But for now, there aren’t too many people noticing enough to share their outrage.

Trump Signs Spending Bill to Stave Off Shutdown Until December

President Trump on Friday signed into law a spending bill that will provide full-year appropriations for several federal agencies and stopgap funding for a portion of government, staving off a partial shutdown at least until December. Lawmakers this week boasted of their accomplishments, noting that it had been 22 years since they last successfully passed as many full-year appropriations on time. Now that Trump has signed the bill into law, the Defense Department will not be forced to operate temporarily under a CR for the first time in 10 years. The Senate last week easily approved the bill. Democrats celebrated that the final bill, which went to conference committee after the House and Senate passed their own versions of it, was stripped of “poison pill” riders and fully funded agencies over Trump’s objections.

Our Senators Must Fight Efforts to Weaken Water Protections

Clean-water opponents are pushing riders that would repeal the Clean Water Rule with nearly every piece of must-pass legislation in Congress, including the Farm Bill and appropriations bills that are still up for debate. Elsewhere, EPA Acting Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler will soon unveil plans to replace existing policy with a rule that would slash protections for wetlands, streams and drinking water sources. If these efforts prevail, it will be a boon for developers, pipeline operators, and oil and gas companies, at the expense of Minnesotans water and health.

House Passes $854B Spending Bill to Avert Shutdown

The House on Wednesday passed an $854 billion spending bill to avert an October shutdown, funding large swaths of the government while pushing the funding deadline for others until Dec. 7. The bill passed by 361-61, a week after the Senate passed an identical measure by a vote of 93-7. The package included two appropriations bills, which fully funded Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education for fiscal 2019, and make up about two-thirds of the annual appropriations total for the year. It also included a continuing resolution (CR) extending current funding levels for any unfunded agencies through the first two months of the fiscal year. “Just as important is what this bill does not include, the unnecessary partisan riders that caused House Democrats to oppose Labor-HHS in the appropriations committee,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), alluding to a variety of conservative policies that appeared in the original House version of the bill, including provisions restricting access to abortion and targeting Planned Parenthood. House conservatives were incensed that policy riders that passed in their chamber were stripped out of the final versions during negotiations with the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass spending legislation. If Trump signs the bill, it will be the first time in 22 years that five spending bills were enacted on time. Last week, Trump signed a package of three bills, including military construction and veterans' affairs, legislative branch and energy and water. In total, the five bills amount to some 77 percent of the annual discretionary spending total. Meanwhile, the House and Senate were rushing to iron out differences on a third package of bills, including Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Financial Services and general government. With the House expected to adjourn on Friday until after the midterm elections, failure to do so would punt action on the bills until November or December.

Labor Dept. Budget Cut Heads for Trump’s Signature

The passed legislation package was a compromise from previous House- and Senate-passed versions. Appropriators in both chambers reconciled the versions into one package that the Senate passed Sept. 18. Senate and House versions of the legislation greatly mirrored each other in regard to proposed cuts to DOL spending. The House previously passed an appropriations package that would cut NLRB funding by about 5 percent. The compromise legislation also removed controversial labor-related policy riders like a provision that would have reversed an Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

Strange Bedfellows: Leahy's Senate Relationships Get Results — Sometimes

"It's no secret that for the past 20 or so years, the appropriations process in Congress has been broken," said Jay Tilton, Leahy's Appropriations Committee press secretary. Spending bills have become magnets for unrelated policy riders, or "poison pills." For example, conservatives have frequently attached provisions to end all funding for Planned Parenthood or toughen immigration policy. The riders made it all but impossible to pass spending bills in regular order. So Congress has repeatedly flirted with government shutdowns while passing huge bills that include funding for most or all government operations in a single measure with no floor amendments. Congress has also "kicked the can down the road with continuing resolutions, which just continue the previous year's spending decisions without any changes in priorities," said Leahy communications chief David Carle. Leahy and Shelby worked out a way to restore the Senate's past practice of adopting separate bills for each area of government and allowing debate on the floor. Then they met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "We said, 'We can get these bills through, but we need your support,'" Leahy recalled. "They said, 'OK, if you can do it, we have other things to worry about, so do it.' And we did." The Shelby-Leahy deal was built on the foundation of a two-year budget agreement negotiated by McConnell and Schumer in February, which removed strict spending caps imposed by Congress in 2011. Shelby and Leahy reached accord on two key points. "They would not move on any appropriations bill if it didn't have bipartisan support," Tilton said. "It had to be free of poison-pill policy riders, and it had to be in line with the bipartisan budget agreement."

IRS, Other Financial Agencies May Need Stopgap as Talks Stall

Negotiations on the Interior funding measure are “a very fluid situation,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the appropriations subcommittee’s ranking member, told reporters last week. House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) had previously said there were about 20 policy riders in the bill holding up talks. The House plans to vote Wednesday on the final version of the legislation including the defense and Labor-HHS bills and the continuing resolution. The Senate adopted the conference report by a 93-7 vote. The measure will likely gain widespread support among Democrats and many Republicans, despite conservatives’ complaints about the lack of Republican policy riders in the Labor-HHS provision, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told reporters.

Hill Poised to OK Disaster Money, But Shutdown Threat Looms

Trump signed the first package of fiscal 2019 appropriations legislation Friday, which contained the Energy-Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch bills. None of the measures attracted controversy after leaders in both chambers agreed to drop controversial policy provisions, as well as deny funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Top appropriators said the signing of the first package of spending bills shows their strategy of lumping bills together and dropping riders to win bipartisan support is working. "This is a successful framework that we should continue to follow to complete the remaining nine appropriations bills to ensure the government of the American people stays open for business," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate's top Democratic appropriator. Appropriators continue negotiations over a third spending minibus that would carry the Interior-EPA, Financial Services, Agriculture and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development bills. A deal is unlikely to be completed by Oct. 1, however, as lawmakers continue to haggle over various policy riders, both GOP and Democratic aides say. If there is no new funding in place, agencies such as EPA and Interior would need the CR to pass to avert a shutdown. Among the riders still being discussed are a proposal to direct some revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Alaskan Native corporations, rollbacks of endangered species protections and California-related water provisions.

Title X and the Publicly Funded Family Planning Network Deserve Support

The budget should be free of any policy riders that seek to eliminate certain family planning and sexual health providers from accessing public funds. Such riders, including those that object to a provider’s scope of service beyond family planning and those that allow for exemptions for required services due to an entity’s religious or moral objections to that care, are to the detriment of patients and public health. For instance, the administration should abandon its repeated efforts, as evidenced by the president’s FY 2018 and 2019 budget plans, to bar “certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood” health centers from serving patients that access care through federally funded health programs. Blocking patients from obtaining publicly funded reproductive health services from Planned Parenthood and other similar providers would reduce access to high-quality care and widen existing inequities.

Hope for the End of Harmful Riders?

The other major success in this bill is that it rejects the inclusion of new policy riders designed to undermine environmental safeguards. Part of the reason why Congress has had such a difficult time passing funding bills is that even if they could agree on funding, House Republicans were insistent on using these must pass bills to change environmental protection policy, aka policy riders. These policies, which have no place in a spending bill, are widely supported so the House GOP had no chance of passing a standalone bill into law. Instead, they took funding bills hostage and were willing to shut down the government to get what they wanted. Thankfully Democrats were willing to stand up to most of these egregious and harmful demands, but the cost was often a budget process stuck in limbo. This year seemed like it would be more of the same with the House Republicans trying to move a handful of harmful, unrelated, controversial, and often radical policy changes. Yet thanks to a fear of a government shutdown just weeks from the midterm elections, Senate Republicans made a handshake deal with the Democrats to keep these riders off the bill. This change of heart, was a surprising but welcomed development.

Congress: Our Democracy Needs More Transparency, Not Less

The Supreme Court’s decision to give corporations the right under the First Amendment to spend unlimited funds from their corporate treasuries to support or attack candidates is troubling for several reasons, and investors concerned about the value of their investments and citizens concerned about the future of American democracy are looking to the SEC to take the action that so many investors have demanded and require disclosure of political spending. The rider blocking the SEC from making progress on this rulemaking was inappropriately included in the appropriations process, and the budget should be free of any partisan, poison pill policy riders. Disclosure of a corporation’s political spending is good for business and good for our democracy. Congress should not stop the SEC from finalizing this important disclosure rule.

There Might Not Be a Government Shutdown This Year. This Is Big News.

Why is the process moving more swiftly this year? Three reasons. First, in February, Congress and the president reached a two-year budget deal that increased spending limits for defense and nondefense programs. Agreeing to the overall size of the federal pie early in the year gave the parties more time to negotiate how to divide it up. Second, the budget deal lifted caps imposed under the 2011 budget law by $85 billion and $68 billion, respectively, for defense and nondefense spending. A bigger pie made it easier to compromise. Third, Republican control of the House, Senate, and White House has generated new pressures on Republicans to reach deals with Democrats. At risk of losing their chamber majorities, Republicans want to deliver legislative wins before the November elections. Both parties’ leaders want to avoid shutting down any part of the government before Election Day. Convincing colleagues on both sides of the aisle to forgo attaching controversial policy riders to the spending bills was key. President Trump remains a wild card. He has threatened several times to veto bills unless Congress agrees to spend billions on a wall along the southwest border. But Democrats and even some Republicans oppose spending as much as Trump has asked for. Republicans have dodged the problem for now. They combined the defense bill — one of their major priorities — with the health and labor bill, which Democrats value, into a single legislative package. Then they added a stopgap measure to cover the remaining federal agencies, postponing a full fight about border wall funding until after the midterms. That means Trump cannot get funding for the border wall unless he is willing to veto the entire package, forcing the government to shut down. It is a risk Republicans bet the president will not take.

Senate Backs Bill to Avert Shutdown, Boost Military Spending

The Senate on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging, $854 billion bill that funds the military and a host of civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through early December. The Senate had not passed a spending bill covering Labor or Health in more than a decade before approving one last month. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations panel, said he was pleased that the compromise bill eliminates contentious policy riders that Leahy and other lawmakers call "poison pills." Such riders frequently lead to a spending bill's defeat even as lawmakers from both parties agree on a vast majority of spending priorities.

Congress Heads Off Latest Shutdown Threat

“This is the most significant step we have taken yet,”said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “For the first time in a decade, we are sending a defense spending bill to the President’s desk on time." Shelby said passage of the bill marked a milestone of sorts -- both parties actually had to work together and make compromises to advance the legislation. He said both parties fought hard for vital national needs. "This conference report contains critical funding for defense and domestic priorities," Shelby said. "It accelerates the rebuilding of America’s military and provides our men and women in uniform with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade. It also increases NIH’s budget by $2 billion and provides critical resources to combat the opioid epidemic. And, it contains no poison pill riders." There are still two other spending packages that need Congressional approval before October 1 to avoid a government shutdown. If the other two packages are ratified by both chambers and signed by President Trump, they would add up to nearly 90 percent of the federal government’s annual spending.

Legislation Lowering Labor Department Funding Advances

The minibus removes “poison pill” policy riders that were in the House version, appropriators have said. The GOP provisions essentially would have thwarted passage in the Senate, where the support of at least nine Democrats is required to avoid a filibuster. The scrapped riders include a provision that would have reversed a controversial Obama-era NLRB decision expanding joint employer liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

Conservatives Left Frustrated as Congress Passes Big Spending Bills

Congressional leadership strategically bundled funding for the labor bill, a major Democratic priority, with funding for the Pentagon, a major Republican priority. For conservatives, voting against the package would mean voting against an increase in defense spending and a raise for the troops. “If they want to vote against defense, that’s up to them. I don’t quarrel with anybody’s vote. There’s going to be sufficient votes to pass the legislation,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), an appropriator. Cole also praised the bipartisan commitment to keep controversial policy riders out of appropriations altogether in order to move the bills forward. “That doesn’t mean those fights are over, it just means you’re not going to be able to win them in an appropriations bill,” he said.

Election-Security Grants a Sticking Point in Spending Debate

The Interior-Environment portion of the spending package also isn’t finished, with Democrats complaining about House Republican environmental policy riders. “More than 20 riders were added to the House bill and they continue to plague these conference negotiations,” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Interior-Environment Subcommittee, said last week.

Lawmakers Agree on HHS Spending Bill with No New Anti-Choice Restrictions

Democratic leadership managed to forge a deal that could be considered a win for reproductive health advocates, given the Trump administration’s steady push for anti-choice policies. “The conference agreement will provide ample resources for our armed services, robust funding lifesaving medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and support for vital health care initiatives like Title X family planning and teen pregnancy prevention,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), ranking member of House Appropriations Committee, in a statement. “I am also proud that House Democrats stood firm and succeeded in removing Republicans’ unnecessary and deeply partisan riders.” The details of the deal should come as welcome news for advocates who depend on Democrats to protect the right to choose.

Clean Budget Coalition Thanks Congress for Rejecting Poison Pill Riders

As a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, we, the undersigned organizations, write to thank the Minibus I conferees for reaching a conference bill with no new ideological poison pill policy riders in the conference language of Minibus I made up of the Legislative Branch, Energy & Water and Military Construction–Veterans Affairs appropriations bills and push for a similar outcome for Minibus II and III.

Congress Passes Budget Bill Free of Dirty Water Riders

Today, the U.S. House approved a finalized Energy and Water “minibus” spending package retaining protections for clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment. This was the first spending package that Congress has successfully negotiated and finalized for FY19.

Watershed Moment as Three Appropriations Bills Clear on Time

A batch of three spending bills is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk following a 377-20 House vote Thursday, marking the first on-time delivery of a quarter of the annual appropriations measures in a decade. The $147.5 billion package — which funds the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers and the operations of Congress — is the first installment of what lawmakers hope will be nine bills becoming law before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Reaching agreement on these three spending bills was no easy task. In addition to settling the spending level differences between the House and Senate, negotiators had to work out vastly different policy language. The Energy-Water conference report dropped $268 million that was included in the House bill to relaunch the license application review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site — opting instead for an interim storage proposal that ignored the politically divisive Nevada location; it removed riders that could have made it easier for the White House to revoke the “Waters of the United States” regulation; and it left out language that would have reversed a court decision direction additional water release of hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest to aid spawning salmon downstream.

Pentagon Set to Win First On-Time Budget Since 2008

The U.S. Congress is poised to pass the defense budget on time for the first time in a decade. A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers formally announced a deal Thursday for a $674 billion defense appropriations bill, packaged with funding for the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Labor and other government agencies, or Labor-HHS. A joint conference committee finished reconciling the two chambers' bills, teeing up a compromise report to pass before the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1. If successful, it would avert a partial government shutdown. A good sign for its passage of defense/Labor-HHS “minibus” is that conferees rebuffed controversial policy riders from both sides of the aisle, lawmakers said. “I am also pleased that this bill is free of controversial poison pill riders,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. “We did our job and focused on the task at hand, which is making responsible, thoughtful decisions about how to fund these federal agencies. This is how it should be done.”

Senate Passes $147 Billion "Minibus" Spending Bill

The Senate approved a $147 billion package containing Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills, the so-called "minibus" funding bill, 92 yeas to 5 nays on Wednesday. The package now goes to the House for consideration before going to the White House for President Trump's signature. This "first minibus" appropriations bill includes 3 of the 12 FY 2019 appropriations bills that need to be passed by October 1, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019. If all three compromise spending packages are approved by both chambers and signed by President Donald Trump, they would account for nearly 90 percent of annual spending, including the military and most civilian agencies. House and Senate negotiators nixed several partisan policy riders in the House version, including one that would have repealed the Obama-era Clean Water Rule and another to limit spillovers at dams in the Pacific Northwest to protect salmon.

Congress Eyes Spending Options as a Shutdown Looms

Congress returns this week in a race against the clock to get fiscal 2019 spending completed before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 as a potential government shutdown looms. Lawmakers from both parties insist they will find a way to make sure agencies stay open next month. But threats from President Trump that he might force a closure unless he gets border wall funding and the presence of controversial riders make the outcome uncertain. Congressional leaders see minibuses as the best way to move bills quickly with limited floor time before the end of the fiscal year. They also believe combining multiple measures will build bipartisan support and lead to fewer partisan policy riders that have derailed individual spending bills in the past. House and Senate negotiators have scheduled conference meetings tomorrow on two more minibuses.

Labor Dept. Funding Proposals to Be Reconciled

Congressional lawmakers will conference Sept. 13 to reconcile House and Senate versions of legislation to fund the Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board, and related agencies. The Senate passed a minibus appropriators package Aug. 24 that provides $12.1 billion in discretionary funding for the DOL for fiscal year 2019, about $92 million less than Congress enacted last year. The House version also seeks about $12.1 billion for the DOL. The potential sticking point for the two chambers comes with funding proposals for the NLRB. That agency is tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act, which covers employer and union relations. The Senate seeks to keep the NLRB at its current $274 million spending level, but the House measure would trim funding by about 5 percent. The House legislation also includes policy riders, such as a provision to undo an Obama-era NLRB decision that expanded “joint employer” liability for businesses in staffing, franchise, and other contractual relationships.

House, Senate Strike Deal on Partial Funding Package to Help Avert Shutdown

Lawmakers on Monday announced a deal to pass the first of three planned spending packages that could help avert or scale back a government shutdown in October. Appropriators on Capitol Hill submitted a conference report for a “minibus” consisting of three spending bills that lawmakers plan to pass this week, a move that would mark the first time in a decade that Congress has sent the president more than one spending bill ahead of the annual Sept. 30 deadline. Lawmakers from both chambers are in the process of negotiating another two minibus spending packages, which together would cover six spending bills and the vast majority of discretionary spending. Congressional Republicans decided to put off work on the three remaining spending bills, including the one that deals with President Trump's border wall, until after the November midterm elections. That means Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to maintain current spending levels for any unpassed spending bills by Oct. 1, or face a government shutdown for the agencies funded by those measures. The compromise bill also removed funding for a project that would store the nation's nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountains, a controversial policy rider that was included in the House's version of the spending package.

GOP Faces Deadline Crunch as Threat of Losing House Deepens

The top priority remains funding the government. GOP leaders on Monday unveiled a final deal on their first “minibus” that funds energy and water projects and the VA. They had hoped to dispense with the bill last week but talks stalled over policy riders, including one helping vulnerable Washington state Republicans facing tough races. The House hopes to vote on the agreement this week, though a looming Category 4 hurricane could upend those plans if votes are canceled due to severe weather. Even if Republicans pass the first “minibus” this week, both chambers still need to hash out a deal on the most contentious spending package: a military, labor and health care spending bill, where the House’s more conservative view on abortion restrictions clashes sharply with the Senate’s vow not to include “poison pill” riders in spending bills. By sidelining the third “minibus” bill for now, GOP leaders hope they can get the defense-labor-health funding bill passed, since it includes the bulk of all government funding.

Thanks for Keeping Our Service Members First

In one of the last acts of his career, Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, kept the National Defense Authorization Act from being compromised by a dangerous anti-environmental rider. The NDAA, which is a must-pass bill, focuses on taking care of our military and their families by establishing a budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to overseeing the funding for our military operations and readiness, the NDAA provides funding for the services, care and pay promised to our military personnel and their families. This year, some members of Congress tried to attach a controversial rider to the military funding bill on the sage grouse, which is a chicken-like bird that roams the American West. The rider claimed that the sage grouse impedes our military’s defense and readiness, yet there is no evidence to support the claim that the sage grouse is a threat to the greatest military on Earth.

What’s in the Final VA, Energy, Legislative Branch Minibus

Lawmakers agreed to a final version of a package covering Military Construction-VA, Energy and Water and Legislative Branch appropriations (H.R. 5895), top appropriators announced Monday afternoon. The measure “has bipartisan support, is free of poison pill riders and complies with the bipartisan budget agreement” on spending caps set in February, Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement. The package is the first of three bundles of spending legislation, comprising nine of the 12 appropriations bills, that lawmakers hope to see Trump sign before the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Clean Budget Coalition Urges Congress to Oppose Poison Pill Riders in Minibus I

The Clean Budget Coalition, an alliance of over 260 labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, civil rights, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, writes to ask you to oppose all ideological poison pill policy riders in the conference language of Minibus I made up of the Legislative Branch, Energy & Water and Military Construction–Veterans Affairs appropriations bills.