Congress Moves to Finalize Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations; Current Funding Set to Expire Dec. 11
Nov 16, 2020
In the wake of the election, Senate Republicans have released all 12 of their Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 spending bills for consideration, setting up a framework for more concrete negotiations with House Democrats. Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) chose to cancel Committee markups and not debate the bills before the full Senate in an effort to speed up the processes with hopes of passing all 12 funding bills before the December 11 deadline.
As a reminder, the House passed 10 of its 12 spending bills prior to the election, but much still needs to be negotiated between the two parties. Budget-caps have already been set as Congress and the White House agreed on a top-line number of $1.298 trillion for FY 2021. About $671.5 billion of that is slated to go towards defense, while $626.5 billion will be allocated to incursionary programs at other federal agencies.
While both sides remain confident that they can strike a deal before current funding is set to expire on December 11, the timeframe for negotiations is limited as lawmakers work to develop a compromise without interfering with the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.
In a statement, Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, “Many of the bills were the result of bipartisan work, and I appreciate those areas where we were able to come to agreement. However, there are significant issues that we will want to address in negotiations with the House.”
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) agrees with his colleague that compromise before the Christmas holiday is achievable. He also agreed with the strong bipartisan nature of the bills, stating that “By and large, these bills are the product of bipartisan cooperation among members of the committee. As negotiations with the House begin in earnest, I look forward to working with Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Member Granger to resolve our differences in a bipartisan manner.”
While a majority of the programs and funding levels in the bills may be bipartisan, there are of course certain sticking points that need to be addressed before any final compromise is made. The Senate bills, for instance, include funding for the Trump administration’s border wall, which House Democrats have long been objecting.
As negotiations continue to play out, ASME will report on the progress in future Capitol Update email distributions.
To see each of the 12 Senate bills, visit: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/committee-releases-fy21-bills-in-effort-to-advance-process-produce-bipartisan-results.