August 2, 2019
President Signs 2-Year Budget Deal

August 2, 2019

Congress Passes Two-Year Budget Deal - President Signs Budget Deal into Law

On Thursday, August 1, 2019, by a final vote of 67-28 with five Senators not voting, the U.S. Senate passed a sweeping two-year budget deal that staves off the impending debt limit, increases both defense and non-defense spending caps for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and FY 2021, and permanently ends discretionary sequestration. The House of Representatives had passed the deal last Thursday, July 25, by a final vote of 284-149, before that chamber departed for August recess. On Friday August 2, 2019, President Trump signed the two-year budget deal into law.

To read NIHB's more detailed analysis of the Budget Deal, click here.

With the Budget Deal established, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is now working with Senate appropriators to divvy up the topline spending numbers across the twelve FY 2020 funding bills. Chairman Shelby has indicated that the topline numbers will be allotted soon to allow subcommittee leaders to reflect on them over recess while appropriations staff work with counterparts in the House to align both chambers spending priorities.

Once Congress returns from recess on Monday, September 9, there will only be thirteen legislative days where both chambers are in session before the end of the current fiscal year on September 30. Appropriators will have to complete all twelve spending bills or pass another short-term continuing resolution to prevent a second government shutdown this calendar year alone.

Chairman Shelby has not ruled out the possibility of a continuing resolution to fund at least portions of the federal government, indicating that he is prioritizing the Defense, Labor-HHS, and Energy and Water appropriations bills that collectively comprise over two-thirds of the discretionary budget.

While important Indian programs such as Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, American Indian and Alaska Native Zero Suicide Prevention grants, and Tribal Opioid Response grants are all funded under the Labor-HHS bill, it is the Interior budget that funds the Indian Health Service (IHS).

NIHB has been working with appropriators to help ensure that the significant funding increases to the IHS budget included in the House-passed Interior bill are maintained and expanded upon in the Senate.

It is very important that Senate appropriators hear directly from Tribes and Tribal organizations about the need to prioritize timely passage of FY 2020 appropriations for IHS to avoid another destabilizing continuing resolution or government shutdown .

Included below is a template letter that Tribes and Tribal organizations can use to contact Senate Appropriations Chairman Shelby about the need for timely passage of the FY 2020 Interior appropriations bill. Tribes and Tribal organizations are highly encouraged to contact Chairman Shelby during the August recess to discuss prioritizing funding for IHS.

  • To access the template letter to Chairman Shelby, click here
  • To access NIHB's Senate Interior appropriations testimony, click here
  • To access the FY 2020 funding recommendations of the IHS Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup, click here


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