As lawmakers work to send President Donald Trump seven spending bills by the end of next week in order to avoid a partial government shutdown, some negotiators are concerned an attempt to combine them all in one package may fail.
Top congressional leaders have yet to spell out how they plan to organize the appropriations bills in votes on the House and Senate floors. Some appropriators say a large, seven-bill package would mire funding for dozens of uncontroversial programs in a politicized fight over funds for Trump’s border wall.
A seven-bill “omnibus” package covering all the remaining bills would also conflict with lawmakers’ unofficial pledge to get back to regular order, passing bills either one at a time or in smaller batches, said Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who is considered among the favorites to be ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee in the next Congress.
Trump threatened to veto a 12-bill spending package for fiscal 2018 earlier this year, saying he would never again support such a large piece of spending legislation.
Appropriators have said a four-bill spending (H.R. 6147) package is practically finished. The measure covers Interior-Environment (S. 3073, H.R. 6147), Financial Services (S. 3107, H.R. 6258), Transportation-HUD (S. 3023, H.R. 6072) and Agriculture-FDA (S. 2976, H.R. 5961) spending. That measure could pass quickly, but no other bills should be added to the package, Granger said.
Three more controversial bills also remain, including Homeland Security (S. 3109, H.R. 6776), Commerce-Justice-Science (S. 3072, H.R. 5952) and State and Foreign Operations (S. 3108, H.R. 6385) appropriations. The Homeland Security measure has sparked a debate over border wall funds and other immigration-related measures. Some Democrats are pushing for a rider to the Commerce-Justice-Science bill that would block the Census Bureau’s planned question on respondents’ citizenship status. And the State and Foreign Operations bill could start a fight between lawmakers and the president over foreign aid.