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House Approves Package of Four Appropriation Bills


According to The Hill, the House passed a $260 Billion package comprising four spending bills on Friday, July 24th. The package was approved on a 224 to 189 vote with seven Democrat representatives and all Republicans voting against adoption.  Spending bills would fund the Department of State, the USDA, the EPA, the Department of the Interior, Veteran's Affairs and Military Construction during the 2021 fiscal year.


Contentious items that will be contested by the Administration will include:-

  • Allocations to the Environmental Protection Agency restoring the cuts proposed by the Administration
  • Inclusion of foreign aid to Israel, Egypt and the Ukraine in the Foreign Operations Bill
  • Expansion of nutritional assistance programs managed by the USDA
  • Providing the FDA with mandatory recall authority for both prescription and OTC drugs
  • Funding arts and humanities programs including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts in the Interior Bill.  The Administration proposed restricting funding for these and similar agencies and museums.
  • The House package allows funding for the World Health Organization and blocks restrictions on U.S. funds for foreign health organizations that support abortion rights
  • The Bill places restrictions on the EPA to reject specific science-based approaches in rule-making
  • Military construction funds would not be provided to construct a Southern border wall


Of specific importance to the poultry industry is a block on Presidential emergency authority to mandate that meat plants should remain functional as an essential service.


The House will consider seven additional spending bills including the Homeland Security bill dealing with immigration, domestic deployment of personnel and border security during the coming week.


In commenting on the package, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) stated, "this appropriations packages addresses urging national priorities".  She added "I am proud that the package also includes strong emergency appropriations to confront coronavirus and support economic recovery with investments in critical infrastructure and coronavirus preparedness response and relief domestically and globally".


Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee objected to previsions relating to immigration and abortion, but was in favor of support for veterans, diplomats and farmers.


Conservatives will balk at the $140 billion off-book spending and the addition of $250 billion in emergency spending. The package of four bills will have a difficult passage given the highly politicized environment in Washington and inclusion of obvious hot-button issues that have divided the nation.


The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to introduce any spending bills for the coming fiscal year. It is anticipated that even if modified versions of the House appropriations bills are passed by the Senate, which appears unlikely, they will most certainly be subjected to Presidential veto. 


Failure to pass eleven of the twelve appropriations bills will require continuing resolutions to ensure that the government functions beyond the October 1st deadline. In all probability, the question of spending and policy will not be resolved before the November election, creating uncertainty at a time when the nation requires harmony and non-partisan agreement on many issues to respond effectively to the challenge of COVID-19 and its effect on the economy.