While President Trump threatens a government shutdown over funding for a border wall and other immigration priorities, Republican leaders are continuing to focus on their strategy of passing spending bills through “regular order.” The House had passed six individual spending bills when it began its August recess last week. By the end of this week, the Senate hopes to have approved seven titles, with plans to take up two more — Defense and Labor-HHS-Education — when the chamber returns to Washington the week of Aug. 13. “We hope to be able to conference those bills with the House and send the president a series of conference reports covering those nine of 12 appropriations bills early after we get back from the Labor Day weekend break,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday.
If the GOP sticks to its timetable, both the defense and military construction titles would be passed prior to the start of the new fiscal year, and only a handful of agencies would require funding through a continuing resolution, reports CQ. If Congress falls behind, though, the process of keeping the government open in fiscal 2019 could prove messy. Last month, the House-Senate conference committee charged with reconciling competing versions of a three-bill spending package — milcon-Veterans Affairs, energy-water and the legislative branch — cancelled its first meeting due to a dispute over funding for veterans private medical care. Talks were at a standstill, CQ reported last week.