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Democratic Divisions Signal a Bumpy Road for Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations

Just because House Democrats hold the majority in their chamber doesn’t guarantee federal spending discussions for fiscal year 2020 will be any smoother than those in past years. In fact, the spectrum of interpretations of Democratic beliefs, particularly between career leadership and newly elected representatives, may present as much a challenge to reaching a final funding deal as Republican opposition. For FY 2020 deals, such opposition is expected especially in the Senate, where the party holds a majority.

The House was set to vote on the Investing for the People Act of 2019 (H.R. 2021) the week of April 8, but after failing to rally the support of a majority of their party members, Democratic leadership removed the vote from the chamber’s agenda. The bill, introduced by Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-KY-3), responded directly to impending sequestrations due to the expiration of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which will enact 10% funding cuts across defense and non-defense discretionary spending at the end of this fiscal year (October 1) if a deal to raise the arbitrarily established budget caps can’t be reached.

The Investing for the People Act would have set 2020 military spending at $664 billion (a 2.6% increase over 2019 levels), while funding 2020 non-defense discretionary funding – including all health spending (aside from some veteran-specific care), totaling just 1% of all federal spending – at $631 billion (a 5.7% increase over 2019).

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus decried the bill as weak and posited that House Democrats should be passing a version of new budget caps with equal funding between defense and non-defense programs, as suggested in an amendment submitted by Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7). With Caucus membership out of sync with the Democratic leaders in the House, the bill would not have had the Democratic votes to pass (as all Republicans in the chamber are expected to vote no).

AIDS United supports efforts to #RaiseTheCaps and achieve parity between defense and non-defense federal spending. The Policy Team will continue to work with partners in Congress to advocate for funding and policies that will bring us closer to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. Check back to the Policy Update for the latest in federal HIV policy and FY 2020 budget & appropriations negotiations.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, April 12, 2019

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