The House of Representatives passed the first of its 12 fiscal year (FY) 2023 spending bills on July 20 as a six-bill minibus, including funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The package, H.R. 8294, was approved by a vote of 220-207 and also included the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; and Interior, Environment spending bills.
The House-passed bill maintained the Appropriations Committee-approved investments in the VA health and research programs, including $926 million for the Medical and Prosthetic Research program, as well as establishing VA medical care spending as its own category, separated from the traditional defense and nondefense categories. The Military Construction, VA, and Related Agencies spending bill was previously approved by the committee on June 23 [refer to Washington Highlights, July 1].
The House is expected to take up consideration of additional FY 2023 spending bills during the week of July 25, though it is unclear if the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies bill, which contains funding for health and research agencies and programs including the National Institutes of Health, will be considered before members depart for August recess on July 29.
The Senate has not released any of its FY 2023 spending bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued a July 12 statement noting that the subcommittee chairs were drafting FY 2023 bills that will be released at the end of July. Leahy noted difficulties reaching a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on top-line funding for the FY 2023 spending bills that led to the subcommittee chairs working independently on the draft bills, despite his preference for a bipartisan effort.
FY 2022 funding for the federal government expires on Sept. 30.