October 9, 2013

Senate Democrats Block Bipartisan CRs

Since the government shut down last week, the House has sent to the Senate twelve individual CRs. These bills would open up different parts of the government right now – including parks, the National Institutes of Health, and many more agencies. The President and Senate Democrats have insisted that they will not pass the House’s clean appropriations bills for individual functions of the federal government (with the exception of the bill paying our military). Last week, fifty-seven House Democrats broke ranks with their leaders and joined House Republicans to pass targeted appropriations bills for FEMA, NIH, and the National Parks. One to provide pay to furloughed federal employees passed 407-0. Despite Senate Democrats saying they support these functions, Leader Reid continues to object to votes on these bills.

Blocked By Senate – Mini CRs (12):

  • H.J.Res 70 – National Parks, Monuments and Museums
  • H.J.Res 71 – District of Columbia
  • H.J.Res 72 – Veterans Benefits
  • H.J.Res 73 – National Institutes of Health
  • H.J.Res 75 – WIC
  • H.J.Res 77 – FDA
  • H.J.Res 84 – Head Start
  • H.J.Res 85 – FEMA
  • H.J.Res 89 – Federal Worker Pay
  • H.J.Res 90 – FAA
  • H.R. 3223 – Pay furloughed workers once the shutdown ends
  • H.R. 3230 – Pay the Guard and Reserve Act

History supports the House’s bipartisan actions. During the last government shutdowns -- from November 13 to 19, 1995, and December 15, 1995 to January 6, 1996 -- Congress passed several laws providing temporary appropriations to allow specific programs to function. On the same day that a 20-day CR ended the last shutdown, President Clinton signed two bills that included full-year funding for many agencies and functions

P.L. 104-69 – Enacted on December 22, 1995, this bill extended through January 3, 1996, appropriations for:

  • Aid to Families with Dependent Children; Foster Care and Adoption Assistance
  • District of Columbia
  • Veterans benefits; Payments to contractors of Veterans Affairs or the Veterans Health Administration if these payments “directly relate to patient health and safety”

P.L. 104-90 – Enacted January 4, 1996, this bill extended through January 25, 1996, appropriations for the District of Columbia

P.L. 104-91 – Enacted January 6, 1996, (the day the shutdown ended with a CR – P.L. 104-94 – that extended all government funding to January 26, 1996). P.L. 104-91 extended funding through the full fiscal year for  numerous functions, including:

  • Peace Corps
  • Activities necessary to process single-family mortgage loans and refinancing of low- and moderate-income families under two Federal Housing Administration programs
  • Security of U.S. embassies, consulates and other diplomatic facilities
  • FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • Medical care of dependents and retirees under the Dependent’s Medical Care Act
  • Social Security benefits or death benefits for military personnel
  • FBI
  • Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcement
  • Federal prison system
  • U.S. Attorneys
  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • Federal prisoner detention
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • The judiciary
  • Trade adjustment assistance
  • Payments to federal Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance trust funds
  • Payments to Medicare contractors
  • Medicaid grants to states
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program, 504 program, and Surety Bond Guarantees Revolving Fund

P.L. 104-92 – Also enacted January 6, 1996, this bill extended funding for the full fiscal year for:

  • Nutrition services for the elderly under HHS’ Aging Services Programs
  • Grants to states for child welfare services
  • Activities for Federal Parent Locator Service (child support enforcement)
  • State unemployment insurance administration activities
  • General welfare and foster care payments funded under the Department of the Interior’s Operation of Indian Programs
  • Certain activities of the Railroad Retirement Board
  • Activities necessary to allow visitors in the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, Smithsonian Institution facilities, National Gallery of Art, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
  • Costs necessary to process visas and passports
  • District of Columbia
  • Veterans benefits

The House is set to take up at least six more clean CRs this week to fund Impact Aid, the National Weather Service, Indian Affairs, Border Security, the Intelligence Community, and Nuclear Weapons Security. Democrats should join Republicans to pass these bills.

Issue Tag: Economy