Even for those of us familiar with the differing legislative components of Capitol Hill, the appropriations process is often confusing. Washington has failed for many years to appropriately fund the government — first through a budget deal that sets the overall amount of money given to fund the government and next through the passage of 12 appropriations bills that set the actual amount of money each federal agency/program receives from the limit given in the primary budget deal.
In light of this, Congress failed to pass an appropriations package for this fiscal year. And this past week, both Chambers narrowly escaped a government shutdown through the passage of a continuing resolution, or as it’s commonly referred to, a CR. This CR, H.R. 3055, extended federal funding levels for the different agencies at current levels with a few anomalies, including $7.3 billion for the 2020 census and a military pay raise.
Unlike House Democrats, this month Republicans have shown some spine on stewarding tax-payer money well. The Democrats place blame on Republicans for failing to meet the funding deadline, but they have continued to put measures in the appropriations packages that Republicans cannot support. Most recently, instead of allowing an appropriations package funding State and Foreign Operations from passing, the Senate majority rejected the measure for its inclusion of funding that would allow government-funded abortion services.
It is quite evident that House Democrats have been too occupied by a frivolous “witch hunt” or impeachment to complete their Constitutional duty—the power of the purse. Time will tell if House Democrats are willing to set aside their political goals and work with Senate leadership to appropriately fund the government by December 20th.
As Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) said:
“It’s with a heavy heart that I rise today in opposition to the continuing resolution. By voting for the last CR, I argued at the time, we would provide enough time for appropriators in the House and the Senate to complete work on full-year appropriations bills. Unfortunately, not only has that not happened, there still has not even been an agreement reached on spending levels for those bills.”
It seems this was the sentiment of most House Republicans as they voted primarily on party lines to reject the CR. In light of the very near December 20th deadline, Eagle Forum supported a letter telling Congress this short of a turn-around doesn’t allow ample time for wise and well-thought negotiation. While this measure was rejected, we are hopeful that Democratic House leadership and the Senate will take the appropriations process seriously in negotiating the remaining appropriations bills. In the meantime, Eagle Forum will continue to monitor the progress.