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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.
On June 28, 2018, the Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill Reauthorization, otherwise known as the "Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018", by a vote of 86-11. Just days before on June 21st the U.S. House of Representatives had narrowly passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 213-211. While the Senate version of the Farm Bill garnered bi-partisan support, every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted against the House version of the Farm Bill. Democrat opposition to the House version of the Farm Bill were based on the inclusion of increased work requirements for individuals participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
Read more at July 2018 Legislative Update