tupungato via shutterstock
The U.S. Capitol in Washington (tupungato via shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House this week rejected a motion by Representative Rosa DeLauro that would have instructed House members negotiating a multi-departmental appropriations bill with the Senate to support the Senate when it comes to Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending.

The House and Senate have approved separate versions of a spending bill that included appropriations for those departments as well as the Pentagon for the coming fiscal year. A group of House and Senate conferees are now in the midst of negotiating a final version to be brought to both chambers for an up-or-down vote.

DeLauro, the ranking Democrat on an Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Department of Labor, HHS and Education, says the House version fell short: none of the $18 billion in additional non-defense appropriations is to go to those departments.

“The House bill includes no new investments in the Child Care and Development Block Grant, nor new funding to help students afford a postsecondary education. The House bill also eliminates funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention programs, as well as health and safety grants. It even cuts funding for community health centers by $100 million, and the list goes on,” she said.

DeLauro also said the House version is “loaded with ideological poison pill riders” that would block funding for the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood clinics and allow religious discrimination in child welfare services.

Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, argued against the motion saying the negotiators should be free to negotiate as they see fit without limiting instructions from House members.

“I just want people in the conference committee to feel free to bring up any topics that they think are important, and that we have a free and full discussion, and, hopefully, work ourselves to a resolution,” he said.

The motion was rejected largely along party lines. The Connecticut delegation voted in support of DeLauro’s motion.