Senate-House Convene on Interior, FSGG, Agriculture, T-HUD Minibus
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate and House today convened a conference committee on H.R. 6147, the minibus that packages the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) expressed optimism that the conference committee would soon complete its work on the package and urged his fellow conferees to adhere to the bipartisan framework that facilitated overwhelming support for the Senate-passed version of the legislation.
“This year we have taken a different approach, and that is the reason we are here today. It is the same approach that led to strong bipartisan support for the conference report on the first minibus yesterday evening in the Senate. Namely, a willingness by both parties to set aside our differences and focus on getting the job done for the American people. I thank my colleagues for their hard work on this package. If we continue to adhere to the framework that led to success on the first minibus, I am confident we will have an equitable agreement soon,” said Chairman Shelby.
The package provides support for various national priorities within the Departments of Interior, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. All four of the appropriations bills included in the package were passed by the full Senate Appropriations Committee with unanimous support.
Yesterday the Senate passed the final conference agreement reached on H.R. 5895, the first Fiscal Year 2019 minibus appropriations package, which includes appropriations bills for Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch. The House is expected to vote on the conference report today.
Chairman Shelby’s full statement, as prepared, is below.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m pleased that we are keeping the trains running this afternoon, and I’ll be brief since we have several members who want speak.
“I would just note that two of the bills in this package, in particular, underscore how far we have come in the appropriations process.
“If any of us would have predicted a few months ago that we would be conferencing Interior and FSGG here today, I doubt we would have been taken seriously.
“Interior and FSGG, Mr. Chairman. Neither of these bills had been considered on the Senate floor in several years because they had become lightning rods for partisan policy riders.
“But this year we took a different approach, and that is the reason we are here today.
“It is the same approach that led to strong bipartisan support for the conference report on the first minibus yesterday evening in the Senate.
“Namely, a willingness by both parties to set aside our differences and focus on getting the job done for the American people.
“I want to recognize Chairs Murkowski and Lankford and their Ranking Members, Senators Udall and Coons, for their leadership in getting these bills to conference.
“I also want to recognize Chairs Collins and Hoeven and their Ranking Members, Senators Reed and Merkley for their work on the Transportation and Agriculture divisions of this package.
“Finally, I want to thank all of their House counterparts for working with us in an effort to reach an agreement that is fair to both parties and viable in both chambers.
“Mr. Chairman, Vice Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Lowey – we are very close to locking this package down.
“If we continue to adhere to the framework that led to success on the first minibus, I am confident we will have an equitable agreement soon.
“And with that I yield.
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