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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Democrats Push for Action on FY 2017 Spending Bills

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    Leading Senate Democrats March 7 announced they are ready to cooperate with Republicans to pass fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending bills in accordance with the levels provided in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-74).

    In a March 7 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Democrats wrote, “We know you share our goal of returning to the regular order by considering appropriations legislation separately, rather than again waiting until the end of the year to enact a massive omnibus bill.”

    “As we see it, restoring the regular order promises not only a more open and transparent process, but a chance for senators on both sides of the aisle to participate meaningfully in funding decisions,” the Democrats wrote.

    The letter came shortly after Senate Budget Chair Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) announced that he will postpone a markup of a FY 2017 budget. “The Senate already has top-line numbers and budget enforcement features available this year so that a regular order appropriations process can move forward while we continue to discuss broader budget challenges,” Enzi said.

    Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Minority Whip Richard Durbin (Ill.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.), and Appropriations Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (Md.), signed the letter.

    Senate Democrats also called on McConnell to push Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), to make the formal allocation of discretionary spending among the 12 appropriations subcommittees.

    Senate appropriations subcommittee chairs reportedly are being told that they will get their subcommittee, or 302(b), allocations around April 15.