Environment, Workers, and Financial Protections Among the Hardest Hit in 2015 Spending Bill

With just two days remaining to avert another government shutdown, congressional leaders released a much-anticipated $1 trillion funding package on Tuesday night, setting spending levels for the vast majority of federal agencies through Sept. 30, 2015. The legislation delivers big blows to critical public protections and the resources we need to make investments in infrastructure and public protections.

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Congress Passes Year's First Spending Bill With Plenty of Riders, Declares Pizza a Vegetable

Late last week, Congress passed the first spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012, 48 days after it began. The bill, known as a minibus, is a bundle of three smaller appropriations bills, and collectively, the three bills are about a billion dollars lower than their level last year. Because the remaining nine spending bills required to keep the government running have yet to be approved, the minibus includes another stopgap spending measure, designed to keep the government open until Dec. 16. However, tucked inside the minibus is a litany of restrictions on spending designed to change non-budgetary federal policy.  Even though congressional rules are supposed to prevent the practice of slipping policy initiatives into funding bills, the minibus includes 75 policy riders that affect everything from gun regulations to the weight of planes flying into New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, and even declare that pizza is a vegetable.

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Appropriations Policy Riders: They’re Ba-ack!

Earlier this year, when Congress was finishing the long-overdue budget for fiscal year 2011, the House tried to use the must-pass spending bill to force adoption of dozens of "policy riders." These provisions would have done everything from preventing the regulation of greenhouse gases to prohibiting certain loans to mohair farmers. Fortunately, almost all of them were stripped out of the final bill. However, now, as Congress moves toward finishing the FY 2012 budget, Republicans in the House and Senate are once again attempting to bend the budget process to enact non-budget policies that can't pass on their own merits. Riders have no place in congressional spending bills.

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Congress Debates Multitude of Options for FY 2011 Budget and Food Safety

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the FY2011 budget, what with all the hullabaloo over deficit reports and the Bush tax cuts. But with the current continuing resolution (CR) set to expire on Saturday, Dec 18, and Congress planning to adjourn at the same time, we’re coming down to the wire. Almost three months after the start of the 2011 fiscal year, Congress is finally making some progress with passing a budget, but is faced with three options: an omnibus bill combining all twelve spending bills into one big bill, a full-year CR, or a short-term CR.

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Friday Appropriations Update: Continuing Resolution Vote Must Happen Next Week

It's been an exciting few weeks on the Hill, with President Obama's OMB director nominee sitting before two Senate hearings before being blocked by a Democrat, House Republicans released their Pledge to America, and an effort to extendthe Bush tax cuts failed to move in the Senate. With all this excitement, I guess congressional appropriators couldn't find much time to work on their appropriations bills. In fact, the House Appropriations Committee made exactly zero progress on the fiscal year 2011 budget, meaning we're still waiting on the full committee to vote on ten appropriations bills. The Senate hasn't been much better, with its appropriations committee only approving two bills, and no floor votes. Which, as recent congressional witness Stephen Colbert might say, brings us to today's word: continuing resolution.

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House to Finish up Appropriations, Push Other Fiscal Business to Next Year

U.S. Capitol

On Wednesday, the House is likely to finish appropriations for the fiscal year with a vote on the last spending measure, Defense. The lower chamber will also vote to extend the debt limit temporarily, a move that will put the thorny political issue off until 2010.

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Appropriations Update: 11 down, 1 to go

Last night, in a 57-35 vote, the Senate passed the appropriations omnibus bill, coming one step closer to finishing the FY 2010 appropriations process. The Senate's vote means that all but one of the appropriation bills are done, which is good, since FY 2010 started a couple months ago. The one slight problem is that the last bill to go is the Defense bill, and it's shaping up to be a doozy.

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Warp Speed: An Appropriations Update

Oink Oink

Last night, as expected, Congress took a giant step toward finishing appropriations this year, as a House and Senate conference committee agreed to a $446.8 billion discretionary omnibus, which includes six of the seven remaining appropriations bills. In addition, the House this afternoon passed, by a vote of 241 to 181, the tax extenders package as a standalone measure rather than attaching it to an appropriations bill; and it's completely paid for!

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Appropriations Moving Quickly

Dollars and Sense

Today, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) told reporters that appropriators from both sides of the Capitol would meet later today to hammer out the FY 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (HR 3288). He also blatantly hinted that the appropriations process would then begin to move fast.

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Omnibus Appropriations Bill More and More Likely

Omnibus, get it?

A story in The Hill this morning relays an increasingly likely scenario in Congress: legislators will use an omnibus appropriations bill to finish spending work this year. The article cites the molasses-like speed at which the Senate has worked to pass its remaining appropriations bills. With the second stopgap funding measure set to expire on Dec. 18, and the Thanksgiving holiday intervening, the window of opportunity just to pass and conference an omnibus bill – let alone the four Senate appropriations bills that remain – is quickly closing.

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