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DeLauro working to get all dozen spending bills through House

Passing 12 House bills before August break may be tall order; talks with Senate have stalled

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., conducts a news conference on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., conducts a news conference on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said Wednesday the House is aiming to pass all 12 of its fiscal 2023 appropriations bills before the upcoming August recess.

“We’re working on those and getting to folks, seeing where we are on them,” she said. “But we’re going to try to get all of the bills done before the recess.”

The House is set to consider a package of six of the bills next week: Transportation-HUD; Agriculture; Energy-Water; Financial Services; Interior-Environment; and Military Construction-VA, according to a Rules Committee notice published Friday. Amendments are due to Rules on Wednesday.  

Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Wednesday that the House would take up at least three more of the spending bills, and potentially more, the week of July 25, the final week before the August recess. 

The House Appropriations Committee advanced all 12 of its annual spending bills out of committee before the July Fourth recess. However, bipartisan, bicameral appropriations negotiations have stalled, and Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., is planning to forgo markups and release the 12 Senate fiscal 2023 spending bills at the end of July.

The two parties are hung up over topline spending levels and policy riders, in somewhat of a replay of last year’s process. House Democrats have inserted their policy priorities on issues ranging from preserving abortion access to closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility into the fiscal 2023 bills.

House Democrats’ spending bills also adhere fairly closely to President Joe Biden’s budget proposals, which Republicans argue would shortchange defense spending and fall well below levels authorized in the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill that the House is voting on this week.

Similar disagreements befell spending negotiations last year, and a final pact on fiscal 2022 appropriations was not reached until March of this year.

And there are intraparty disputes that may yet hang up House Democrats’ efforts to pass all 12 of their own appropriations bills before August. The House was able to pass nine of its initial spending bills last year but never took up the fiscal 2022 Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense and Homeland Security bills. 

“We have two or three bills that cause us problems, and caused us problems last year,” Hoyer said. “But I think we can pass the other three.”

In addition to the six bills on the floor next week, the House was also able to pass fiscal 2022 versions of the Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch and State-Foreign Operations bills last year.

DeLauro held a meeting Wednesday afternoon for rank-and-file Democrats, in which her subcommittee chairs who will manage bills on the floor next week explained their contents.

She wouldn’t speculate as to whether Democrats have the votes to pass the three bills they couldn’t pass last year. “That’s what I’m in the process of doing, garnering the information, how we can proceed forward,” DeLauro said. 

“I’m not worried about next week, there are tougher bills,” Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Mike Quigley, D-Ill., added. “Homeland [Security]’s toughest.”  

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