Disagreement Over Amending Process
On June 19, 2014, the Senate “minibus” bill that carried the Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bills was pulled from the Senate floor.
The bill, H.R. 4660, was pulled because of a disagreement about whether amendments would need 60 votes which was Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) position or just a majority to pass which was Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) position. It seems unlikely that there will be any movement on the bill until at least after the 4th of July recess.
H.R. 4660 is the “minibus” appropriations package and includes Fiscal Year (FY) 15 appropriations for HUD and the Department of Transportation, as well as the USDA and Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bills. The House passed its FY15 HUD spending bill on June 10, 2014.
The bill is stalled until agreement can be reached on which amendments can be offered and what vote thresholds (50 or 60) will be used for adoption of those amendments. The controversy is rooted in the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to regulate the coal industry.
Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) pushed strongly for passage of the bill. She has championed a return to “regular order” for the FY15 appropriations cycle, with bills passed by their respective chambers in time to be considered in conference committee before the October 1, 2014 start of the new fiscal year.