Today on the Hill: Congress Aims to Pass Newly Unveiled Spending Deal

February 14, 2019

Border security negotiators unveiled a compromise spending deal (text; summary) late last night as lawmakers sprint to clear the bill ahead of tomorrow’s funding deadline. While lawmakers on both sides have crowed over the deal for omitting their respective policy priorities, the measure is expected to clear both chambers in order to avoid a second partial government shutdown. President Trump is also expected to sign the bill despite falling short of his $5.7 billion border wall request.

The agreement will fund the other six outstanding appropriations bills through the end of this fiscal year, including: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; Financial Services and General Government; Interior and Environment; State and Foreign operations; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. It includes a boost of roughly $270 million to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as a $43.3 billion boost for the Federal Highway Administration. However, the deal reduces funding for several Department of Transportation projects and agencies, including cuts to infrastructure grants for state and local governments. Additionally, the deal does not include a provision that would provide backpay for federal contractors who were not paid during the last shutdown – nor does it include reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — despite bipartisan support for the measures.

On the floor, the Senate is expected to take up the spending measure first to allow House members to attend funeral services for the late former Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). The House vote on the deal is expected to take place after 6:30 PM. Senators are also expected to hold a final confirmation vote on the nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General of the United States.