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Report: House Lawmakers Could Tie Defense Spending Bill to HHS-Labor-Education Appropriations Package

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House lawmakers are expected to combine the fiscal 2019 defense spending measure with appropriations bills for the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education in order to gain bipartisan support and pass the package before the current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, Bloomberg Government reported Thursday.

“They did it in the Senate. We don’t have much choice,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Labor-HHS subcommittee, told reporters Wednesday.

“If you want the defense bill, you’re going to have to deal with the `Labor-H’ bill.”

The Senate passed in August a package of appropriations bills that would earmark $854B in fiscal 2019 funds for the four departments.

The report said lawmakers aim to approve up to nine appropriations measures by the end of this month and tackle the remaining bills after the midterm elections in November, including the homeland security bill that contains funds for the proposed border wall.