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CCTS Newsletter | September 7, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andres Bachelet
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

September 7, 2018

 

As Congress reconvenes following the August Recess, the Senate continued to work persistently to advance and finalize the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending bills. In this regard, House and Senate appropriators have outlined an ambitious agenda to finalize as many as nine of the twelve annual appropriations bills before the end of the current fiscal year (September 30th). While it is expected that this effort may extend into the first few weeks of October the goal is to have the majority of spending bills completed before the November mid-term election. Both chambers have appointed conferees on the three minibus measures that together contain the nine appropriations bills and conference negotiations are ongoing. Not finishing the bills before the election creates great uncertainty for the agencies and would put pending funding increases in jeopardy.

 

Minibus 1: Contains the Military Construction-VA, Energy-Water and Legislative

Branch appropriations bills       

 

Minibus 2: Contains the Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bills

 

Minibus 3: Contains the Interior & Environment; Financial Services; Agriculture-FDA; and

Transportation-HUD appropriations bills

 

The appropriations bills for State & Foreign Ops, Homeland Security, and Commerce are lagging behind and likely to be dealt with after the election. Many of the pending spending bills contain notable funding increases for programs advancing the full spectrum of medical research across federal agencies. Moreover, the House has indicated a willingness to consider the higher Senate allocations for the spending bills overall (specific items will need to be resolved in conference). The Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science has weighed in with appropriators to ask for the highest possible pending allocations for all relevant programs.

 

Key to finishing off any number of the appropriations bills is how Congress will negotiate an agreement with the White House on Mexico border wall funding (which is contained in the Homeland Security bill) and how conferees on the funding measures deal with controversial poison pill policy riders, which are not germane to appropriations, but have been attached to several of the House spending bills. The Senate has managed to keep divisive riders out of its bills and conferees will decide how to proceed on these topics as ongoing negotiations progress.