Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Senate Passes First of 12 Appropriations Bills for FY 2024 Under New Leadership; House Passes a Laddered Continuing Resolution

On November 1, the Senate passed its Consolidated Appropriations minibus, H.R. 4366 (82–15) consisting of Military Construction-VA, Agriculture–FDA, and Transportation–HUD appropriations bills as part of a bipartisan appropriations package. Chair Patty Murray of the Senate Appropriations Committee said, “Unlike the funding measures we’ve seen pushed through the House, these are three serious, bipartisan bills that can actually be signed into law.” Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins said, “These important bills honor our nation’s veterans; support our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; and improve transportation infrastructure and housing opportunities throughout the United States. I look forward to working with Chair Murray and our colleagues to build on this progress by continuing to process our committee-passed appropriations bills on the Senate floor.”

The Senate also confirmed Monica Bertagnolli, MD, as the 17th director of the National Institutes of Health on a bipartisan 62-36 vote. She is only the second woman to hold that position in the agency’s history and most recently served as the director of the National Cancer Institute. Bertagnolli takes over from Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, who has been the acting director of NIH since December 2021. FASEB supported her nomination.

The election of Speaker Mike Johnson on October 25 as the 56th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives allowed the House to restart its work to complete the remaining appropriations bills. The speaker plans to bring them to the House floor before the Thanksgiving recess begins on November 16 and the first continuing resolution ends on November 17. Among the bills are the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as well as the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies bills. Members have submitted an extensive list of proposed amendments for House Rules consideration for these bills. 

House Rules, also known as the Speaker’s Committee, met this week to determine the number and types of amendments to the bills and to set debate times as well as who will control the majority and minority’s time on the floor during bill consideration. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Labor–HHS bill was considered on the House floor. On Wednesday, the House rejected H. Res. 869 that would govern debate on the 2024 Commerce–Justice–Science bill. No further House votes are scheduled until Tuesday, November 28, at approximately 6:30 pm ET.

In other news, the House passed a laddered continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 6363. with a bipartisan roll call vote of 336-95. Funding for four of the 12 annual appropriations bills are extended through January 19 (Agriculture, Energy–Water, Military Construction–VA, and Transportation–HUD) and the other eight are extended through February 2, 2024. The Senate is taking steps to move this vehicle forward before the current CR ends on November 17.