Senate Approval of Milcon Spending Bill Will Not Cut Short Negotiations over

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Senate’s planned vote this week on a fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill won’t save Congress any time putting together a year-end omnibus, and largely will allow lawmakers to show their support for the politically popular measure.“This is simply an opportunity for all senators to advocate for their ideas by debating, amending and passing a stand-alone appropriations measure on the Senate floor for the first time since 2011,” said Stephen Worley, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee.Senate leaders are hoping to approve the bill Tuesday evening, but even assuming it passes as expected, House and Senate appropriators still will need to hash out differences between the two chambers’ versions they aim to complete an omnibus with all 12 spending bills by Dec. 11, when the current continuing resolution expires. The final milcon bill almost certainly will differ from the one the Senate considers this week, reported CQ.Still, passing the measure likely will have some practical benefits. The military construction-veterans affairs title may be used as the legislative vehicle for the FY 2016 omnibus expected to advance next month, although Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not said what he is planning. When Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week that Democrats had reached an agreement with the GOP to take up the bill, he indicated it would serve as the vehicle for an omnibus.Senate passage of the measure also would help McConnell fulfill his pledge to allow for open and orderly consideration of an appropriations bill — just later than he hoped, according to the story.The Senate’s original $77.6 billion measure would provide $8.1 billion for military construction and family housing programs, representing a $1.3 billion boost over FY 2015 funding but almost $355 billion below the administration’s request.last_img

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