As the federal government enters its third week of a partial shutdown, it’s incredibly frustrating to be heading home to Nevada with no deal in sight. Since Speaker Pelosi still refuses to negotiate on any agreement that includes funding to secure our borders, the House wasted another week voting on her same dead-on-arrival proposals that will not reopen the federal government.
This week’s newsletter provides an overview of how Congress got to this point, where we stand after this week’s votes in the House, and what I hope to see happen as we attempt to move forward and end this shutdown. Please take a moment to review this update and let me know what you think through my website.
Timeline & Regular Order Process: House vs. Senate Appropriations
In September 2018, the President signed five of the 12 Appropriations bills into law for 2019. These bills included: Defense, Energy & Water, Labor-Health & Human Services-Education, Military Construction-Veterans' Affairs, and the Legislative Branch. The funding for the remaining seven appropriations bills – Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing & Urban Development – expired at midnight on December 21, 2018.
Before the December deadline to fund the federal government, the House managed to pass all seven of the remaining appropriations bills out of Committee through a regular order process. This process included Subcommittee mark-ups, where Members offered up funding priorities for each bill. Each priority was then voted on by Subcommittee Members until ultimately, a finalized bill was reported out of each subcommittee and voted on by the full Appropriations Committee for final passage.
As you may know, the House voted on four of those seven appropriations bills this week – Agriculture, Financial Services, Interior, and Transportation-Housing & Urban Development. However, they were not the bills passed out of the House Appropriations Committee last Congress. Instead, they were the funding bills passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where unfortunately, I cannot say a similar and transparent process took place.
While the Senate Appropriations Committee also managed to pass the same four bills out of Committee, they did so by unanimous consent, as you’ll see in the chart below. Senate Appropriators were able to pass each bill unanimously because instead of taking time to review the competing needs of the agencies funded under each bill in the new fiscal year, they took the easy way out, funding the status quo, and failing to consider thousands of individual Member requests by neglecting to review the important programs and accounts funded under each bill.
The regular order appropriations process is important, because without input from Members, funding for priorities and projects important to our constituencies would never be secured. For example, last Congress, my staff and I fought during House Appropriations Committee mark-ups to secure funding for several priorities unique to Western states like ours. Some of those measures included critical funding to combat wildfires, improve forest health, and promote clean air and water.
Circumventing the regular order appropriations process to push bills through Committee is certainly not the most responsible use of taxpayer dollars, because it prevents Congress from ever moving the ball forward on specific funding priorities where responsible cuts or increases might be necessary.
Washington, D.C. Wrap-Up
By taking up the Senate’s bare-bones funding package in the House this week, we lose out on millions of dollars in House-passed funding for priorities that are important to Nevada, rural America, and our nation’s infrastructure, among other things.
Specifically, the Senate’s appropriations bills cut funding for:
- Priorities to support rural America or advance medical drug and device review (Agriculture Bill);
- New provisions to protect the sanctity of life, reform Dodd-Frank, support the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and create a Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids to reduce the deficit (Financial Services Bill);
- A repeal of WOTUS and key House priorities, including WIFIA and Superfund, while increasing funding for the EPA and its regulatory programs (Interior Bill); and
- Priorities for to support our nation’s infrastructure and modernization to the FAA Air Traffic Control (Transportation Housing and Urban Development Bill).
With the federal government entering its 21st day of a government shutdown, it’s completely irresponsible for Speaker Pelosi to again place politics ahead of solutions by refusing to come to the table to reach a deal on border security. After last week’s show votes, Speaker Pelosi chose to bring the same bills to the House Floor for a vote this week. These are the same bills that failed to end the shutdown last week, the same bills Senators McConnell and Schumer still refuse to consider, and the same bills the President will still not sign.
By forcing the House to continue these futile exercises, Speaker Pelosi is basically handing Members the keys to a brand new car that doesn’t run. I urge the Speaker to quit giving us keys to cars that don’t run, and to let us consider taking the keys to a car that actually has the potential to be driven across the finish line.
As always, my staff and I will be sure to keep you updated on the specifics surrounding any potential deal reached to reopen the federal government.
Thank you for subscribing to the Amodei Report. I look forward to continuing to keep you up to date on the issues you care about most. For additional information, please visit my website at amodei.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-6155, Reno office: (775) 686-5760 or Elko office: (775) 777-7705. To receive updates on what I am doing in Washington and in Nevada’s 2nd District follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.