Today on the Hill: First Session of the 114th Congress Set to Close with Omnibus Passage

December 18, 2015

Legislative action for the year is set to finish today as both chambers complete work on a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill (omnibus text; section-by-section summary), and an accompanying tax measure (tax package; section-by-section summary). The House has already passed the ‘tax extenders’ package and is poised to pass the omnibus this morning before combining the two measures and sending it to the Senate as a single bill (H.R. 2029). Senate lawmakers forged an agreement yesterday that will allow the upper chamber to forgo some time-consuming procedural steps and clear the legislation today. The unanimous-consent agreement stipulates that a cloture vote, as well as possible votes on a motion to table the spending amendment and on waiving a budget point of order, will go forward before a final vote on passage of the underlying bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has laid out the series of four roll call votes this morning to see the measure through the upper chamber. 

While passage of both the omnibus and tax package is not in any serious doubt, some conservative lawmakers in the House will be voting against the omnibus because of spending levels and their inability to secure certain policy riders, such as defunding Planned Parenthood or nullifying Environment Protection Agency rules on water regulation and power plant emissions. In the Senate, presidential candidates Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have both voiced their concerns on the bill, with the former briefly threatening to slow the voting process down and the latter announcing that he will oppose the measure. For a full breakdown on the important provisions included in the omnibus and tax packages, please refer to our post earlier this week on the TRP Blog. 

The White House has already said that President Obama will sign the combined spending and tax package, which should mark the end of the final fiscal fight of his presidency. Both chambers of Congress are set to adjourn today until the second session of the 114th Congress opens in January. The first day for the House is scheduled for January 5, while the Senate is set to convene for the first time in 2016 on January 11.

‘Today on the Hill’ includes updates provided by the House and Senate majority leaders, as well information derived from publications including Bloomberg Government, The Hill, Politico, Roll Call, and National Journal.