Applause Greets Passage of Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Rogers: Makes summer plans.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Jan. 15, 2014, 2:20 p.m.

Cheers and ap­plause broke out be­hind the closed doors of the House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Wed­nes­day after the House passed a 12-part om­ni­bus spend­ing bill by a vote of 359-67, with an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity vote from both parties.

Com­mit­tee staffers worked through the hol­i­days to put to­geth­er the om­ni­bus bill, while most mem­bers were back in their dis­tricts. House Ap­pro­pri­ations Chair­man Har­old Ro­gers, R-Ky., said Wed­nes­day that the staff will have next week off. Call it a be­lated Christ­mas mir­acle.

“I think this por­tends well for the fu­ture,” Ro­gers said of the strong, bi­par­tis­an sup­port for the bill. “I think we’ll have a re­stored at­ti­tude on the Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee about work­ing to­geth­er and the ne­ces­sity of do­ing that. This gets the train back on the track — reg­u­lar or­der — and gives us a chance now dur­ing this com­ing year to do things the right way, and that’s in­di­vidu­al bills.”

The le­gis­la­tion is also ex­pec­ted to pass the Sen­ate later this week.

Ro­gers feels that the House vote re­flects not just a re­newed in­terest in re­turn­ing to reg­u­lar or­der and up­hold­ing the Ap­pro­pri­ations pro­cess, but a change in the mood of the House in gen­er­al to­ward great­er bi­par­tis­an­ship. “I really be­lieve that this has set a tone that will last, as we needed,” he said.

The bill comes on the heels of an­oth­er bi­par­tis­an agree­ment in the House over the Decem­ber budget deal between Rep. Paul Ry­an and Sen. Patty Mur­ray. In fact, the om­ni­bus earned a lar­ger ma­jor­ity than did the Decem­ber budget agree­ment, with 64 Re­pub­lic­ans and just three Demo­crats — Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Car­o­lina, Raul Gri­jalva of Ari­zona, and Rush Holt of New Jer­sey — op­pos­ing the meas­ure.

Like the Ry­an-Mur­ray bill, the om­ni­bus pack­age drew the over­whelm­ing op­pos­i­tion of con­ser­vat­ive spe­cial-in­terest groups. Both meas­ures earned the votes of a ma­jor­ity of House Re­pub­lic­ans, in­clud­ing many con­ser­vat­ive votes, a sign of the loosen­ing grip those out­side groups hold on the Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence.

Many of the Re­pub­lic­ans vot­ing nay also op­posed the Ry­an-Mur­ray budget deal, call­ing its $1.012 tril­lion spend­ing level too high.

Oddly, six of the con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers who op­posed the budget agree­ment last month voted in fa­vor of the om­ni­bus — which al­loc­ates those funds at the pro­gram and de­part­ment level. They are: Reps. Trey Gowdy and Mick Mul­vaney of South Car­o­lina, Andy Har­ris of Mary­land, Joe Heck of Nevada, Dav­id McKin­ley of West Vir­gin­ia, and Daniel Web­ster of Flor­ida.

Mul­vaney had said Tues­day that he would op­pose the om­ni­bus and pre­dicted that none of his fel­low nay votes on the budget agree­ment would sup­port the om­ni­bus either. “I’m vot­ing no for it, any­way,” he said then. “”¦ I don’t know how you voted no last month and would vote yes today.”

But Mul­vaney said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day that he sup­por­ted the bill be­cause it cuts dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing — when ad­jus­ted for in­fla­tion — be­low 2008 levels, something he prom­ised his con­stitu­ents dur­ing his first cam­paign. His of­fice did not re­spond when asked for com­ment about the evol­u­tion in his stance between Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

Mean­while, Heck said he was dis­ap­poin­ted that the om­ni­bus did not cut more spend­ing, but that he sup­por­ted the meas­ure be­cause it in­cludes a fix for pen­sion cuts to dis­abled vet­er­ans that were in­cluded in the ori­gin­al budget agree­ment.

The Wed­nes­day vote came just 44 hours after the massive 1,582-page om­ni­bus was re­leased Monday even­ing, giv­ing law­makers little time to read the bill be­fore it hit the House floor. Mem­bers and their staffs would have had to read more than 1.6 pages every minute, without sleep­ing, to have fin­ished read­ing the doc­u­ment ahead of Wed­nes­day’s vote.

Sen­at­ors will have a few more hours to look over the om­ni­bus, but not many. By an 86-14 vote Wed­nes­day, the Sen­ate passed a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion that will give the up­per cham­ber un­til mid­night Sat­urday night to pass the om­ni­bus be­fore the cur­rent fund­ing mech­an­ism ex­pires.

That vote could come as early as Thursday or as late as Sat­urday even­ing, de­pend­ing on wheth­er Re­pub­lic­ans in­sist on us­ing all of the de­bate time avail­able to them, ac­cord­ing to a seni­or Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic aide.

Sen­ate Ap­pro­pri­ations rank­ing mem­ber Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Wed­nes­day be­fore the House vote that he ex­pects to see large, bi­par­tis­an sup­port for the om­ni­bus in the Sen­ate as well. “I think we’re go­ing to have a big vote. “¦ I be­lieve we’re go­ing to have a healthy num­ber. … I haven’t felt the crys­tal­liz­ing of a lot of op­pos­i­tion,” he said.

“We all would like to get out as soon as we could, if we could vote. But if oth­er people have oth­er ideas — you know, delay, delay” — then the pro­cess could drag out, Shelby said. He ad­ded, however, that he is hope­ful the om­ni­bus will pass the Sen­ate by Fri­day.

Once it clears the Sen­ate, the le­gis­la­tion will keep the gov­ern­ment fun­ded through the end of Septem­ber and pre­vent a shut­down this week­end. Af­fected de­part­ments and agen­cies will have to sub­tract their total spend­ing so far in fisc­al 2014 — which began on Oct. 1 — from the top-lines in the om­ni­bus, be­fore writ­ing their budgets for the re­mainder of the year.

What We're Following See More »
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Grants 111 More Commutations
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.

BUT HE’S NOT ADVOCATING FOR IT
Grassley Open to Lame Duck Hearings on Garland
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.

Source:
DEFINITELY MAYBE
Rubio Can’t Guarantee He’ll Serve a Full Term
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.

Source:
DUTERTE BECAME PRESIDENT IN JUNE
Obama to Raise Multiple Issues in Meeting With Philippines Prez
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.

Source:
LATE SEPTEMBER
Conservatives Preparing ‘Dry Run’ for Constitutional Convention
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."

Source:
×