Deal Struck on Final Appropriations Bill

Mikulski: Feeling left out — and furious.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Jan. 13, 2014, 1:17 p.m.

Con­gres­sion­al ne­go­ti­at­ors have come to an agree­ment on a 12-part om­ni­bus spend­ing bill that will hit the House floor mid-week and fund the gov­ern­ment through the end of Septem­ber.

“We have a bill,” Sen­ate Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Bar­bara Mikul­ski, D-Md., told re­port­ers Monday even­ing.

The om­ni­bus le­gis­la­tion was filed with the House Rules Com­mit­tee this even­ing and ap­peared on the com­mit­tee’s web­site. The le­gis­la­tion is com­plete and in­cludes all 12 fund­ing bills, Mikul­ski said, mean­ing that ini­tial dis­agree­ments have been re­solved over fund­ing levels for the de­part­ments of Edu­ca­tion, Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, and oth­er agen­cies.

The bill sets fund­ing for gov­ern­ment agen­cies through the re­mainder of fisc­al year 2014, which ends Sept. 30, at $1.012 tril­lion. Each fed­er­al agency will now have to sub­tract spend­ing since Oct. 1 from their topline fund­ing levels be­fore al­loc­at­ing the re­main­ing re­sources.

The bill does re­verse con­tro­ver­sial mil­it­ary pen­sion cuts for dis­abled vet­er­ans and provides a fix for cuts to sur­viv­ors’ be­ne­fits, leav­ing the pen­sion changes for oth­er vet­er­ans to a lar­ger over­haul that the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee and oth­ers will take up later this year.

The bill does not in­clude any new cuts to the Af­ford­able Care Act, Mikul­ski said Monday. “There’s noth­ing in the bill that knocks Obama­care,” she said. “Obama­care lives an­oth­er day.”

Mikul­ski wouldn’t say wheth­er she has any con­cerns about the fi­nal le­gis­la­tion, but said that her fo­cus now is on pas­sage. “We hope it will get a strong vote. The fact is that this is a strong, bi­par­tis­an bill and it is a bicam­er­al bill,” she said.

With the cur­rent le­gis­la­tion fund­ing the gov­ern­ment ex­pir­ing on Wed­nes­day, the House is ex­pec­ted to soon pass a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion to buy the Sen­ate more time for fi­nal pas­sage of the om­ni­bus. The CR is ex­pec­ted to pass both cham­bers and will set the dead­line to pre­vent a gov­ern­ment shut­down for mid­night on Sat­urday.

The House is likely to take up the om­ni­bus on Wed­nes­day, with a clo­ture vote in the Sen­ate ex­pec­ted as soon as Fri­day and a fi­nal vote ex­pec­ted by Sat­urday.

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