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BORDER SECURITY MEETING: DHS Appropriations Bipartisan Conference Committee Convenes (FNN)

The linchpin to avoiding another government shutdown in mid-February is a House-Senate conference committee on border security which publicly convenes Wednesday afternoon. Either the sides work out a deal or there is a serious risk of a government shutdown in a few weeks. So, what is a conference committee? A conference committee is a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers appointed by leadership because of their expertise or areas of jurisdiction on a given issue based on committee assignments. Here’s what usually what happens to prompt a conference committee: the House and Senate approve similar, but different versions of legislation. In other words, the House has a poodle and the Senate has a Labrador retriever. Both are canines. Put them together and you get a labradoodle. But it’s still a dog. The key here is similar but different bills from the House and Senate. The House can’t offer the Homeland Security Appropriations bill and the Senate comes over with legislation about tribal fishing rights from the Committee on Indian Affairs. It doesn’t work that way. It would be like the House producing horse and the Senate coming up with cow. They don’t mix. But if both the House and Senate produce a dog breed, then they can go to a conference committee. Think of the conference committee as a Congressional Cuisinart. The “conferees” (members of the conference committee) are expected to take all of their different ideas about border security – walls, drones, agents, border crossings, digital frontiers, you name it – and dump all of the ingredients into the blender. Hopefully when they get done mixing everything together, the sides have produced a singular, unified House-Senate bill. This legislation is called a “conference report.” Once approved in the conference committee, the House and Senate then take the conference report back to their respective bodies for adoption. If the full House and Senate approve the conference report, then the House and Senate are in sync. Both chambers have a single, synthesized bill which they can send to the President for signature. Sharing a mix of breaking news, Arizona stories, engaging discussions, and popular culture. #BorderSecurity

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