Sounds of silence
HAC and SAC negotiators met through the weekend to finalize all 12 FY 20 appropriations bills, but Sunday ended with no announcement.
Hopefully, the bills will come together today. Subcommittees were told to submit their unresolved issues to leadership last Friday.
Friday evening Roll Call reported that a foreign aid rider was creating a problem in the STATE-FOPS bill:
“Urged on by anti-abortion activists and religious groups, the White House is raising concerns in year-end spending talks about language secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in the Senate’s State-Foreign Operations bill they fear could cut out faith-based aid groups from U.S. Agency for International Development contracts.
“Shaheen argues the provision in the bill would simply require USAID contractors to adhere to current law, which stipulates they can’t deny services to individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, political affiliation or other factors.”
Sweetening the pot
The Hill reports that in an attempt to get GOP approval for appropriations bills, Democrats have offered to include a provision to repeal the ObamaCare Cadillac tax:
“A congressional aide familiar with the talks told The Hill that Democratic negotiators had put repeal of the Cadillac tax ‘on the table in the appropriations negotiations.’
“The aide added that the offer was made as part of ‘broader negotiations’ and that there are ‘several things still unresolved’ in the spending talks.
“ObamaCare’s Cadillac tax, which has never gone into effect, was meant to keep health care costs down by discouraging overly-generous ‘Cadillac’ health insurance plans.”
FY 20 NDAA on House agenda
The House Majority leader’s weekly calendar lists a vote on the conferenced FY 20 NDAA for Wednesday or later.
Last week it was reported that an agreement on paid family leave for federal workers and establishing a Space Force were also part of the conferenced bill.
The Washington Post reported today Administration negotiators offered several ideas in exchange for the Space Force creation before finally settling on the deal that would be “the biggest victory for federal employees in nearly 30 years.”
Because of the coast of the family leave provisions there is concern that the deal might not be approved:
“…it is unclear whether it will have enough support among Republicans to pass the Senate. And support for the idea isn’t unanimous within the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has raised concerns about approving parental-leave benefits because of the cost, three people briefed on the talks said.
“Some Democratic aides say the proposed federal benefits package would cost about $3 billion, though there is disagreement about whether those costs would span five or 10 years.”
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