09.13.18

Senate-House Hold Conference Meeting on Defense & Labor-HHS-Education Minibus

Package Includes Largest Pay Raise for Troops in Nearly a Decade, Boost in NIH and Opioid Crisis Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Building on the success of the final conference agreement on the first appropriations minibus, the Senate and House today convened a conference committee on H.R. 6157, the minibus that packages the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bills. 

 

In a further sign of a return to regular order in the appropriations process, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) applauded the conference committee’s work on the package and praised his fellow conferees for their adherence to the bipartisan framework that facilitated overwhelming support for the Senate-passed version of the legislation:

 

“The Defense and Labor-HHS bills account for the lion’s share of discretionary spending.  Yet neither bill had passed through regular order on the Senate floor in many years.  We now have a proven framework for success.  Both parties and both chambers are working together, forgoing the things that divide us and focusing on the things that unite us. 

 

“I am pleased to say that last night we were able to resolve our remaining differences on this package by following the framework that led to success on the first.  I want to thank my Vice Chairman on the Defense Subcommittee, Senator Durbin, and our House counterparts – Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky – for working with me in this spirit to ensure that our military has the resources it needs to maintain readiness and modernize.  I also want to recognize Chairmen Blunt and Cole and Ranking Members Murray and DeLauro for moving us closer and closer to an agreement on the Labor-HHS division of this package.  Chairman Frelinghuysen, Vice Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Lowey – we are making real progress here.  If we continue to set aside the things that divide us and focus on the things that unite us, I am confident we will not only get this package across the finish line but also complete our work on the 4-bill package we are considering this afternoon.”

 

The Defense and Labor-HHS bills represent the majority of discretionary federal spending, yet neither has been signed into law before the end of the fiscal year in a decade.  The package provides appropriations to support various national priorities within the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies.  The legislation includes an increase in funding for the Pentagon, the largest pay raise for our troops in a decade, as well as increased NIH funding and boosted resources for opioid treatment, prevention, and recovery programs. 

 

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; it’s good to be back at this table with you again.

 

“One week ago today, we met here with an agreement on the first minibus at our fingertips.

 

“Following that meeting, we kept working and hammered out a compromise soon thereafter.

 

“Yesterday the full Senate passed that conference report by a vote of 92-5.

 

“By this afternoon, I expect it will have passed the House and be on its way to the President’s desk for his signature.

 

“Given the dysfunction of the appropriations process in recent years, getting three bills signed into law on time would itself mark meaningful progress.

 

“But we are poised to do much, much more.

 

“The Defense and Labor-HHS bills account for the lion’s share of discretionary spending.

 

“Pairing these two bills was the lynchpin of our strategy to pass appropriations bills in the Senate.

 

“One, the top priority for Republicans; the other, the top priority for Democrats.

 

“Both important to all Americans.

 

“Combining the two provides the opportunity, I believe, for all of us to make progress together.

 

“And I am pleased to say that last night we were able to resolve our remaining differences on this package by following the framework that led to success on the first.

 

“I want to thank my Vice Chairman on the Defense Subcommittee, Senator Durbin, and our House counterparts – Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky – for working with me to ensure that our military has the resources it needs to maintain readiness and modernize.

 

“I also want to recognize Chairmen Blunt and Cole and Ranking Members Murray and DeLauro for their great work the Labor-HHS division of this package.

 

“Chairman Frelinghuysen, Vice Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Lowey – we are making real progress here.

 

“If we continue to set aside the things that divide us and focus on the things that unite us, I am confident we will not only get this package across the finish line but also complete our work on the 4-bill package we are considering this afternoon.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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