Washington Update: Funding Discussions Continue in House and Senate

Debate on an eight-bill funding package continued late into the night as the U.S. House plowed through 68 amendments to the large funding bill.  The House continues debate on the remaining 156 amendments today.  The House won’t wrap up the bill this week because many members want to return to their districts due to Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, which means final passage of the large omnibus bill will roll over until next week.  Last votes this week will be on the continuing resolution, debt deal, and Hurricane Harvey relief package, which the Senate passed Thursday.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations began to pass funding bills this week, tackling two bills that fund Labor; Health and Human Services; Education; and State and Foreign Operations.  The State bill provides funding to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which will see a significant increase in funding under the Senate bill.  The Commission received $24.8 million in FY2017.  The Senate Committee’s FY2018 proposal bumps that up to $32.29 million.  A big portion of this extra funding is set aside for work in the Lake Champlain basin.

Additionally, the Senate Committee’s report accompanying the State Department funding bill includes the following report language:

The Committee is concerned by aging infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin which threatens sea lamprey control efforts intended to protect the $7,000,000,000 economy supported by the region’s fisheries. The Secretary of State shall work with the GLFC to develop a multi-year strategy and funding plan to improve such infrastructure as part of the broader sea lamprey control effort, including by leveraging funds from non-U.S. Government sources.

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