This week, the House Appropriations Committee engaged in a lengthy and intense markup of the Labor-H fiscal year 2019 Spending Bill, advancing the bill by a party-line vote 30-22. The subcommittee received about 12,700 requests from other members for provisions in the legislation said Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

The bill also included several amendments offered by both Democrats and Republicans on the family separation issue. The Manager’s Amendment included provisions that would make it illegal to prevent members of Congress from entering facilities housing detained minors and another provision that would allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take private donations to care for unaccompanied children, including medical goods and services, school supplies, toys, and clothing.

While the two parties came together on many of the family separation amendments, more contentious amendments were heatedly discussed, including an amendment from Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) that prohibits discrimination against a child welfare service provider based on the provider’s religious or moral beliefs. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would allow discrimination in foster care and adoption services based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, marital status and more. The measure would reduce child welfare funding to states that do not allow such discrimination. The committee vote to add the language was 29-23, largely along party lines, with Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) crossing party lines to vote against it. 

While the Senate has avoided addressing policy disputes in spending bills to move them out of committee more quickly, the immigration and child welfare amendments among House members highlights their tendency to take a more partisan approach to spending negotiations.

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