NSAC's Blog

Massive Appropriations Bill Nears the Finish Line

December 12, 2014

The House of Representatives approved the government spending bill for 2015 last night by the relatively close final tally of 219-206 after a day of high drama over the deal negotiated by House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the White House. Earlier in the day, the rule to proceed to the bill initially appeared to be voted down, but then passed 214-212 after the House GOP leaders convinced several rank and file members to change their vote.

Having gained leverage from the inability of Republicans to pass the bill with votes solely from their own caucus, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attempted to rally her caucus to hold out on voting for the bill until two particularly egregious provisions were stripped out — a gift to Wall Street banking interests in the form of a weakening of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and a weakening of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law in the form of a six-fold increase in the cap on campaign contributions from the super wealthy to the national political parties.

According to numerous reports, that move led to furious phone calling from the President, Vice President, and other White House officials to House Democrats urging them to stay with the negotiated deal, abandoning Pelosi. The White House made clear the President wants and is going to sign this bill.

In the end, 57 Democrats, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), joined 162 Republicans to pass the bill.

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and incoming Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-TX) both voted no and both cited concerns with not being consulted about the policy rider to weaken Dodd-Frank rules for derivative markets.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where voting may also be tight but the bill is expected to carry. A two-day extension of the continuing resolution that is keeping government spending on autopilot until the final bill can be worked out gives them the weekend to try to finish this bill and all the other pending matters before the official close of this session of Congress.

Our earlier post includes details of what is in the bill for food and agriculture, including our sustainable agriculture and food system priority programs. We have also now posted our appropriations chart on our website which provides the details for all of the programs that we track and follow annually.

Categories: Budget and Appropriations

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