The Topline: Steptoe Appropriations Newsletter - JUNE 14, 2024

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This week, the full committee marked-up the State and Foreign Ops, Homeland Security, Defense, Financial Services, and Legislative Branch bills.
United States Government, Public Sector
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Half of the Bills Reported in the House: While House appropriators are taking a break from floor activity on their bills this week (for NDAA consideration) and next week (for recess), the committee continues to hold markups at a breakneck pace.

This week, the full committee marked-up the State and Foreign Ops, Homeland Security, Defense, Financial Services, and Legislative Branch bills. All five bills were favorably reported on party-line votes due to controversial policy riders. The House Appropriations Committee has now completed half of their FY25 bills.

Next week, the House will be in recess, but will markup the CJS, Labor-H, T-HUD, Interior, and Energy and Water bills in subcommittee the week of June 24. These bills will be considered by the full Committee after the July 4threcess.

In addition, Homeland Security, SFOPS, and Defense will be considered on the House floor the week of June 24. It's an amazing pace to get the bills moving in regular order, thanks to Chairman Tom Cole and Speaker Mike Johnson.

A Slower Senate: Progress in the Senate has been notably slower, which is likely to create a logjam later in the year. As we reported last week, the Senate is expected to hold off on markups until next month, with the more non-controversial bills – Milcon-VA, Leg. Branch and Agriculture – up first and more controversial bills after the August recess. To put this delay in perspective: The House is expected to report and/or pass all twelve of their bills by the August recess.

The Senate delay still appears to be related to topline numbers, with Republicans pushing for an increase in defense spending over the one percent cap and Democrats demanding an equal increase for non-defense spending. This debate has delayed the subcommittees, which need these allocations to finalize their bills.

CR Timeline: The Senate's slow start would be more worrisome for the prospect of passing an appropriations package in time for FY25 if members believed there was any real chance of having this done by September 30.

Given the tight timeline and the upcoming election, members expect a CR in September to buy more time. We think the CR will give members time to finish FY25 after the election but before the end of 2024, when Congress will not only have to consider finalizing annual funding bills, but also address the debt ceiling extension. There will be some who want to punt the funding fight into the 119thCongress, but we think lessons learned from previous congresses will encourage members to "clean the barn," as former Speaker Boehner would say.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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