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This Week in Congress

This week, both chambers of Congress worked on the congressional appropriations bills to fund the government in the coming fiscal year in advance of the August recess.  Many members of Congress are not adhering to the spending levels in the debt-limit deal, and the widening gulf between House and Senate plans puts government funding at risk of falling into a long stopgap measure with even a potential shutdown. Top Senate appropriators announced a bipartisan agreement last week to add $13.7 billion in spending above the caps.  House Republicans are taking the opposite approach, marking up bills below the caps while conservatives push for even steeper cuts. Both plans have members of Congress accusing each other of reneging on the deal, while appropriators loathe to admit they cannot strike a yearlong agreement by September 30th.  When Congress returns in September, the House will have 10 appropriations bills to bring to the floor, and the Senate will try to vote on all 12 before October. It will be a sprint- the House does not return until September 12th, a week after the Senate.  The Senate debated the annual defense policy bill before they recessed for the summer.