Politico: Senate to Attempt Passing "Cluster" of Appropriations Bills, Including CJS and T-HUD

Politico: Senate to Attempt Passing "Cluster" of Appropriations Bills, Including CJS and T-HUD

Politico reports that the Senate will try to pass a “cluster” of three appropriations bills, including those that fund NASA, NOAA, and the FAA’s space office, in an attempt to catch up with the FY2012 appropriations process. If this approach succeeds, they could cluster other bills together.

Grouping several appropriations bills together is quite common these days. When all or most of the 12 regular appropriations bills are combined it usually is called an “omnibus” or a “consolidated” bill. When fewer bills are acted upon jointly it is sometimes called a “minibus.”

According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to start with the Agriculture-FDA bill. The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) and Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) bills would be “grafted” onto it. CJS funds NASA and NOAA, as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation. T-HUD funds the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including its Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

To date, the Senate has passed only one of the 12 regular appropriations bills (Military Construction/Veterans Administration). The House has passed six (Agriculture, Defense, Energy & Water, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch,and Milcon/VA). FY 2012 began on October 1. The government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will expire on November 18.

Politico notes that the Senate plan to merge Agriculture, CJS and T-HUD would create a $182 billion package, “big enough to stumble into what could be a minefield of amendments.” Nonetheless, the party leaders expect to bring the bill to the floor tomorrow, with passage anticipated next week.

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