Milcon Spending Bill to Provide Test for New House Maneuver
The House leadership next week plans to ask the chamber to consider stripping out funding for veterans affairs from the fiscal 2012 military construction spending bill to test the option of splitting some of the federal government’s 12 appropriations bills into smaller parts.
Because of widespread support for milcon and veterans programs, lawmakers likely will reject the maneuver, but for House Republicans the vote will be viewed as test run for employing the gambit on more controversial spending measures, reported CQ Today.
For Republicans, the maneuver might allow the House to remove funding for some agencies — those out of favor with fiscal conservatives or the Tea Party, for example — from larger spending measures that include multiple departments. Members would have such an opportunity on the House floor now that members can offer amendments freely on spending bills.
At this point, it is unclear what would happen during a House-Senate conference if the House eliminating spending for a particular agency and failed to introduce a stand-alone bill to fund it, according to CQ.
The answer may not matter, the story pointed out, since disputes over debt reduction and spending cuts may force Congress to rely on an omnibus spending package for many of the year’s appropriations bills.