House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) Dec. 12 announced that congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan deal “in principle” on all 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills. The agreement comes after a Dec. 6 deadline for all Appropriations subcommittees to finalize their bills and submit a list of any remaining “unresolved issues” to Congressional leadership [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 6].
The agreement also emerges following a week of cautious optimism, with both Chairwoman Lowey and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stating that they were looking to avoid the need for a new continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open past the Dec. 20 expiration of the current CR. A week of intense negotiation between leadership from both Appropriations committees, as well as Congressional leadership and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, developed into the reported agreement on nearly $1.4 trillion in government funding.
Chairwoman Lowey indicated that legislative text will be released as soon as it is available, likely on Monday, Dec. 16. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters he hoped to bring the bills to the House floor for votes on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and will continue discussions with Chairwoman Lowey on the number of minibus spending bill packages they will use to present all 12 bills.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) indicated that he expects the president to sign the final legislation, citing the involvement of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sec. Mnuchin in the negotiations.