The House of Representatives is supposed to return to legislative business today at 2pm. The wheels on their bus aren’t exactly turning smoothly so it’s hard to be sure what their plan is since it keeps changing. They’ve abandoned the plan I called the dumbest ever back on July 14th, to pass this year’s appropriations bills in one giant package that their members would not have even been able to read. Instead, they appear to have scaled that back to what they’re calling a “minibus” bill (as opposed to a omnibus one) that will only include defense spending, an Energy and Water bill that involves our nuclear weapons, the money for veterans, and funding for the border wall.
The border wall money is interesting for a few reasons. One is that it probably can’t pass through the House as a standalone item. Another is that it really ought to be a part of the Homeland Security appropriation bill, but that isn’t one of the bills that they’re planning on including in their minibus. And a third is that they have what looks like a bit of subterfuge planned to ram the funding through despite the bipartisan opposition to the wall.
This all become (somewhat) clear during an exchange on the House floor last week between House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
During their Thursday colloquy on the House floor, Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., asked Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to explain the process under which the consolidated “minibus” appropriations bill would be considered.
McCarthy said that the minibus will be considered under a structured rule and that “we assume that there will be hundreds of amendments,” and that that is why he expects there will be late votes next week.
Hoyer asked McCarthy if he expects “we will bring the other eight [appropriations] bills to the floor in September.”