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Another government shutdown was averted when Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the U.S. Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Act of 2019 on September 28, 2018. The $854 billion appropriation provides fiscal year 2019 funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a continuing resolution to fund other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce, Interior, and Justice, through December 7, 2018. It is expected that funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall will remain a prominent request once the continuing resolution funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires on December 7th. Current proposed appropriations bills for the Department of Homeland Security would provide $1.6 billion in funding for activities, including building of fences, along the southern border. However, according to Roll Call, Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1) has introduced a bill that would use the Senate's Reconciliation Process to provide $25 billion in funding for the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The federal government faces another potential shut down at the end of the month if Congress is unable to pass, or the President vetoes, the fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill. While the Senate voted last week (93-7) to fund the federal government through December 7, 2018, the House has yet to consider the bill, though it is expected that they will take up the Senate appropriations bill later today. The FY 2019 "minibus" Continuing Resolution will provide funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. The bill would also provide $9 billion in disaster relief for areas that were affected by the recent Hurricane Florence. President Trump has voiced his discontent with the FY 2019 appropriations package because it does not include funding for a southern border wall with Mexico, which has some worried that he may veto the package if it is passed by the House and thereby cause a government shutdown.
Since passage of the 1970 Legislative Reorganization Act (P.L. 91-510), both chambers of Congress were granted authority to adjourn during the month of August and return to regular business after the Labor Day holiday. In keeping with tradition, the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned for its annual August recess to return to their home districts. However, the Senate was only granted recess for the first week of August at the direction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Reported by Politico and several other media outlets in June, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that the Senate would work three of the four weeks in August to confirm as many of President Trump's judicial and executive branch appointments as well as to focus on passing the 12 appropriations bills prior to the fiscal year ending on September 30th.
Upon reconvening of the U.S. House of Representatives, it is expected that the first major activity between the two chambers will be meetings of a Joint Conference Committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the 2018 Farm Bill Reauthorization.