Government shutdown fears rise as Congress leaves for SIX WEEKS: Lawmakers face pressure to avoid economic meltdown as they leave DC for a summer break
- The House won’t return to Washington until September 12 — when there will be just 12 sitting days until the fiscal year ends on September 30.
- Congress must use that handful of days to pass 12 appropriation bills — which fill the budgets of every federal agency
- The House passed an appropriation bill, 11 remain, and the Senate passed none
The stench of plane fumes and a looming government shutdown worry filled the air in the nation’s capital on Thursday night as lawmakers left town for a long recess with only one chamber passing just one of the 12 annual spending bills.
The House won’t return to Washington until September 12 — when there will be just 12 sitting days until the fiscal year ends on September 30. The Senate returns a week earlier.
Congress must use that handful of days to pass 12 appropriation bills — which fill the budgets of every federal agency.
The House passed a supply bill, 11 remain, and the Senate passed none.
On Thursday, the House passed the $317.4 billion Military Construction-VA bill, generally the least controversial of the 12 spending measures, a bill that provides funding for veterans benefits and military construction. . Democrats opposed the bill, saying Republicans loaded it with hardline amendments.
House GOP leaders scrapped plans to hold a floor vote for a $25.3 billion farm bill after the party’s far-right faction demanded spending cuts more important.
If the House and Senate don’t agree on 12 separate spending bills to pass — a long-term outcome at best — the nation could be heading for a government shutdown.
The stench of jet fumes and a looming government shutdown worry filled the air in the nation’s capital on Thursday night as lawmakers left the city for an extended recess with only one chamber passing just one of 12 bills annual expenditure law
It seems less likely that the House alone will pass even 12 separate spending bills in 12 days. Even if that were the case, these bills would likely be several billions below the levels of Senate spending bills.
Congress could also pass an overarching omnibus bill, which consolidates all spending priorities into a single vote, or a short-term continuing resolution — which would hold spending at fiscal 2023 levels for a specified period and earn more. time to resolve disagreements.
If Jan. 1 approaches without a one-year spending deal, cuts of 1% across the board — including military and veteran spending — will kick in.
The Conservatives have promised to use the supply bills to advance their agendas by targeting further cuts. In one example, the Republican Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Funding Bill for 2024 would cut the FBI’s budget by $1 billion — a 9% reduction in the agency’s budget. they claim to “arm” against conservatives.
House and Senate must rectify differences on 12 annual spending bills or come up with an alternative option to avoid a government shutdown
Some members of the far-right Freedom Caucus have insisted they are not afraid of a shutdown – and have demanded a return to fiscal year 2022 spending levels below those agreed to in the deal on the debt ceiling.
They said they would not agree to spending cuts through ‘revocations’ – as some had hoped to cut spending to make up the $115bn difference between 2022 and 2023 by recovering unspent funds like the covid-19 help.
“We shouldn’t fear a government shutdown,” Republican Rep. Bob Good told reporters this week. “Most of what we do here is bad anyway.”
Rep. Andy Biggs also said he doesn’t fear a stoppage.
“The House is going to say no, we’re going to pass a good Republican bill through the House and force the Senate and the White House to accept it, or we’re not going to move forward,” Biggs said. “What if the Republicans looked for once at the Democrats and were the ones who refused to back down and betray the American people and the trust they placed in us when they gave the majority?” So we don’t fear a government shutdown.
But Biggs, for his part, predicted there would be no stopping.
“I don’t believe you’re looking at a government shutdown,” the Arizona Republican told reporters.
“You’ll see some of the 12 approval bills come out in what we call a minibus, and then you’ll see continued short-term resolution.”
Meanwhile, the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the must-have annual spending bill that funds the Pentagon. Now they will have to reconcile their differences and adopt a consensus version to send to the president’s office.
The House version included controversial amendments that restrict abortion and access to transgender health care — measures that lost Democratic support for the generally bipartisan legislation.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met Thursday to discuss prospects for compromise on spending measures and other priorities.
“I found our credits conversations to be very good,” the speaker said. “None of us want to shut down the government.”