Lawmakers meeting to iron out differences between House and Senate versions of three spending bills — military construction-Veterans Affairs, energy-water and legislative branch — have hit a plateau as Appropriations Committee leaders have not yet figured out how to allocate available fiscal 2019 funding to each of the 12 spending titles. Topline spending in competing versions of two of the measures, military construction and legislative branch, is relatively close but the chambers are $900 million apart on energy-water. Without Appropriations Committee leaders determining allocations for each of the spending titles, agreements made by the conference committee over spending levels for the three bills would affect funding for the other nine that have not yet gone to conference, reported CQ. The caps agreed to in the two-year budget deal for FY 2018 and 2019 include only overall limits for national security spending and nondefense-related spending.
The House and Senate versions of the milcon spending bill have virtually the same topline, $97.1 billion, but the lack of resolution over how to reconcile topline funding differences between the House and Senate on all 12 appropriations bills is holding up talks over that title. “We’ve done a bunch of stuff on policy, we’ve come to general agreement. But, it’s really difficult if you don’t know exactly the numbers,” said John Boozman (R-Ark.), chairman of the Senate Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee.