During the negotiations to resolve the unfinished work to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, there were a number of important issues that the parties couldn't agree on, including government funding for the implementation of health care legislation and funding for Planned Parenthood. Speaker Boehner successfully negotiated an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Reid to ensure that these two proposals received an up or down vote in both the House and Senate. The rule providing for consideration of the full year CR, H.R. 1473, executes this agreement.
Debate and votes on these issues, put in the form of concurrent resolutions adjusting the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (known as “enrollment correction resolutions”), will be directly tied to final passage of H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act via the rule providing for its consideration. Here’s how it will work:
The rule provides for consideration of H.R. 1473 (the full year CR), H. Con. Res. 35 (defunding of ObamaCare), and H. Con. Res. 36 (defunding of Planned Parenthood). The House will debate and vote on each of these items separately. Because H.R. 1473 represents a final agreement akin to a conference report and the enrollment correction resolutions are straight up or down votes, debate will be limited and no amendments will be allowed on any of the three items.
It’s important to note that the enrollment corrections must be passed by both the House and Senate to be effective; neither body can make the changes without the consent of the other. It’s also important to remember that as the originating body of H.R. 1473, the House ultimately has custody of the official papers and is responsible for enrolling and presenting the bill to the President for his signature.
Upon passage of each measure, the House will send to the Senate the final version of a House appropriations bill, H.R. 1473, and the two enrollment correction resolutions.
- If H.Con.Res. 35 and H.Con.Res. 36 also pass the Senate, the House Clerk will add the language in the resolutions as “corrections” to the final enrolled version of H.R. 1473.
- If the enrollment correction resolutions do not pass the Senate, they will not be added to the final version of H.R. 1473 and it will be enrolled and sent to the President.
In order to ensure timely consideration of all three items, the rule will direct the Clerk of the House to refrain from finalizing the enrollment H.R. 1473 until the Senate holds votes on H. Con. Res. 35 and H. Con. Res. 36. The order and timing of the votes on all three items in the Senate will be determined by leadership of that body.
While the overall agreement is far from perfect, it represents a historic reduction in spending and a turning point in the debate over how the American people’s money is spent in Washington. This rule and the debate it will set up are designed to enhance accountability in the spending process.