Rep. Republican. mike simpson of Idaho, one of the key takers, laughed when asked to meet the mid-December deadline: “I just don’t think that’s going to happen,” a- he declared. “There is just too much confusion.”
The confusion carries serious stakes for a host of government programs, not to mention the future of congressional spending debates. Lawmakers fear that any funding bill they can agree to before 2023 will be the last passed by Congress for at least the next two years due to a host of factors, including a narrow incoming majority in the House that is already divided on federal spending and a presidential election looming in 2024.
Instead of annual appropriation bills, Congress could pass rolling resolutions that allow federal agencies to operate with stagnant funding levels, which often hamper programs and process priorities. How long such a funding patch will last is still unclear — perhaps equating the issue with the holidays or the last week of December — though lawmakers are determined to pass a revamped spending deal before the next Congress. .
Chairman of House Credits Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said last week it was “focused like a laser” on meeting the mid-December date.
“I think people want to try to move on,” she said. “That’s the impression I have, of making the toplines.”
DeLauro’s GOP counterpart, the Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, said negotiations are “beginning to come together.”
“We haven’t come to any conclusions but we are talking,” Granger said. Meeting the December 16 deadline, she said, “Yes, we will.”
Past Chairman of Senate Appropriations Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Also reported last week that congressional spending officials are moving toward agreement on overall funding levels for defense and nondefense programs, which would lead to agreement on a dozen projects credit law. But he admitted that the Senate runoff in Georgia could delay the talks, after negotiators had already postponed the talks due to the midterm elections.
“I wish that weren’t the case. It’s possible. But the sooner we do it, the better,” Leahy said.
representing Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a House appropriations official, said chief negotiators Leahy, DeLauro, Granger and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the main responsible for GOP ownership in the Senate, “have not even entered into serious negotiations yet … and that is a problem.”
When asked if he was planning a vacation in case work dragged on, Cole replied, “No. Washington is beautiful when it snows.
Congressional spending officials hoped to strike a fiscal year 2023 funding deal before January, when the GOP regains a slim majority in the House and an all-new session of Congress begins — with a host of new members unfamiliar with it. the credit process.
Even Republicans admit it will be much harder to pass annual spending bills in 2023 with such a narrow majority in the House, arguing that it makes more sense to wipe the slate clean before the start of the 119th Congress.
“As fractured as we are on many other issues, there’s probably no better indicator of the fractures in our caucus than those on federal spending,” the rep said. Steve Womack of Arkansas, the top Republican on the Financial Services Expenditure Subcommittee. He noted that his colleagues are divided on various parts of the appropriations process, including whether to keep appropriations, cut federal spending or crack down on the IRS.
“I’m reluctant to tell you this, but I wouldn’t expect any clarity on [government funding] until the very week we start running out of appropriations, because that’s become the new norm in Congress and that’s unfortunate,” Womack said. “We are not aware of any serious negotiations taking place.”
Leahy and Shelby, two longtime partners and powerhouses of ownership, are both retiring at the end of the year, increasing the pressure for a final bipartisan deal. But even if Appropriation officials strike a deal in such a short time, there are complicated questions about what will be attached to the more than $1.5 trillion government funding package, as it will likely represent the one of the last chances for lawmakers this term to get priorities on a must-have package.
The Biden administration has already requested nearly $38 billion in additional aid from Ukraine and $10 billion in emergency health funding, of which $9 billion would go to meet current and long-term needs. of Covid. The White House plans to request additional disaster relief to deal with hurricanes and wildfires this year as well.
Republicans are unlikely to support the administration’s call for additional Covid-19 funding, rejecting a $22 billion request from the White House earlier this year. And a number of conservatives have argued that the United States should turn off the tap on military aid to Ukraine, calling for new assessments of the money Congress has already sent.
Congress has so far provided about $66 billion for Ukraine and other war-related needs. The administration maintains that about three-quarters of this funding has been spent or is committed for specific purposes.
Many lawmakers fear passing the massive package will prove impossible next year. representing David Price of North Carolina, the top retired Democrat in the Transportation-HUD spending subgroup, said it all had to come together soon because ownership next year “is going to be very, very difficult.”
“I think appropriations have to work with at least a modicum of bipartisanship,” he said. “That’s all the more reason to enact fiscal year 2023.”