Our View: Summer exercise

Posted: July 19, 2013

For us, it’s become a hardy perennial, a regular summer exercise — checking with Rep. Frank Wolf’s office on the status of Appropriations bills working their way through Congress. Summer, after all, is when appropriators like Mr. Wolf, who chairs the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice & Science, are hard at work.

On the plus side, the House — typically — is farther along than the Senate. As of last Friday, the full House had passed three of the 12 spending bills. Three more had gained committee approval, and three others had survived the subcommittee crucible.

But, as Dan Scandling, Mr. Wolf’s chief of staff, told us Thursday, this week has seen considerable action on the House side. Mr. Wolf’s Commerce, Justice & Science bill was passed in full committee on Wednesday.

The Senate, to its credit, has moved more quickly on its bills than in years past. As of last Friday, six of its 12 spending measures had gained committee approval.

The question, of course, is how all these bills will fare come September when legislators return from recess. Will they be rolled into a huge “omnibus” measure, or a number of “mini-buses”? And how will debt-ceiling negotiations factor into the process?

Serious as this summer exercise may be, the real “game” begins after Labor Day.