Today on the Hill: Senate Approps Process Iced Over Partisan Disputes

The Senate’s push to fund the federal government through fiscal year (FY) 2020 got off to a rocky start yesterday, as the Senate Appropriations Committee postponed its scheduled markup of the Labor-HHS-Education bill amid partisan disagreements over policy riders. Democrats were prepared to offer an amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education bill that would bar the Trump administration from implementing its Title X family planning rule — a move that prompted Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) to delay the subcommittee markup while both sides iron out their differences on “poison pill” provisions. The two sides have also yet to strike an agreement on 302(b) allocation levels, reinforcing the need for a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through mid-November or early December.

On the floor, House lawmakers are set to consider a pair of bills aimed at permanently banning oil and gas leasing in eastern areas of the Gulf of Mexico (H.R. 205) and in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts (H.R. 1941). Despite some support for the bills from House Republicans, the legislation is considered dead-on-arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate after the Trump administration issued veto threats earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Senate will resume consideration of several pending presidential nominations, including the nomination of James Byrne to be Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.