Appropriations Watch 2019: Rev Up the Minibuses

Appropriations Watch 2019: Rev Up the Minibuses

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Forget the omnibus. The Senate this year is opting for minibuses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Thursday that he’ll look to pass fiscal 2019 spending bills in groups of “minibus” bills, The Hill reports. Those bills will split the required 12 appropriations packages into groups of about three each.

McConnell reportedly said the spending-bill strategy had been decided on in consultation with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), appropriations committee heads and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The messy 2018 appropriations process lumped all 12 annual spending bills into one massive omnibus, which was only passed in late March, nearly six months after the fiscal year had started. “I think we all agree that’s no way to fund the government. I think it’s bad for the agencies, it’s bad for our constituents, it’s bad for the country,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said Thursday, according to The Hill.

McConnell reportedly also hopes to have the Senate pass the first two appropriations bills in June. “It’s our hope that we’re not just marking these up in committee, but taking them to the floor and getting as close to a process that both sides will be comfortable with in the future,” he said.

The Senate faces a time crunch that will likely lead to it extended its calendar and perhaps truncating its traditional August recess as it looks to approve judicial and executive branch nominations while also pushing through appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year.