Agreement reached on spending bill allocations

By Caitlin Emma

Top appropriators in Congress have reached a deal on spending levels for a dozen bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government, two individuals familiar with the negotiations said today.

The agreement on the toplines for the bills is important because it means Congress can move ahead with work on spending for fiscal 2020 and avoid a potential government shutdown in four weeks.

Those spending levels, or 302(b)s, won’t be made public until the full slate of fiscal 2020 appropriations bills is finalized, those individuals said, speaking on background.

House and Senate spending panels will immediately start haggling over how to divvy up the topline numbers among federal departments, programs and priorities — including funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall. The wall has been a major sticking point in talks.

Appropriators aim to pass all 12 spending bills before government funding expires on Dec. 20, the sources said. Trump signed a stopgap bill Thursday that included that new deadline.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have been nearing an deal on the subcommittee allocations for some time, but they failed to clinch an agreement before Congress cleared the stopgap spending bill, H.R. 3055 (116).