After demonstrating hope, resolve, and bipartisanship with the passage of a 12 bill omnibus for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers have set a positive tone for the FY 2015 process. As the budget deal decided upon in December set an allocation level for FY 2015 ($1.014 trillion), there is momentum for action.
Deadlines for programmatic and report language requests have come and gone for the most part and the parade of interest groups making the rounds for staff meetings are filling security lines. While it remains too soon to tell how it will all play out, bipartisan hope that bills will move forward is appreciated by most of those who frequent the halls of Congress to lobby.
The House Full Appropriations Committee took a significant step forward in the Fiscal Year 2015 process by passing both the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the Legislative Branch bills on Wednesday, April 9th.
Draft Text of the Mil Con Bill: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2015-MilCon-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf
Draft Mil Con Report Language: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-113-hr-fy2015-milcon.pdf
Draft Text of Leg Branch Bill: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-113hr-fc-ap-fy2015-ap00-legbranch.pdf
Draft Leg Branch Report Language: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-113-fy2015legbranch.pdf
What We Are Hearing:
The House is expected to keep moving through Subcommittee and full Committee markups and Senate should get started soon. The House and Senate both head out for two weeks of recess over Easter/Passover and then will be back for a month before the Memorial Day break.
It is rumored that there is a lot of support for Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (retiring) to be able to take the Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) bill to the floor for a vote. Given that this bill is notoriously controversial, it remains to be seen if that will actually happen.