NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Congress is gearing up for a budget battle that could determine the course of President Biden’s administration for at least next year.
Lawmakers are preparing to resume negotiations on a one-year government funding agreement when they return to Washington in early September. If successful, the deal would freeze spending levels for federal agencies and departments, whether or not Republicans take control of Congress in November.
Republican hardliners are unwilling to give Biden such a victory, especially as the White House continues to push policies opposed by much of the GOP base.
“Any expense bill is a leverage point,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “Those are [places] we can push for a specific outcome, whether it’s on law enforcement, the border, or vaccination mandates. »
BIDEN AND CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS HAVE SPENT APPROXIMATELY $3.8 BILLION ON THEIR AGENDA SINCE INAUGURATION DAY
While Republicans say they oppose the government shutdown, most argue the Biden administration needs a course correction. GOP lawmakers say the looming Sept. 30 deadline — before which Congress must pass a government funding bill or risk a shutdown — marks the perfect opportunity.
The strategy highlights how important the congressional budget is for a president to have an impact on the federal bureaucracy. A one-year spending deal would allow Biden to set spending levels across federal agencies and departments, ensuring funding for priorities and initiatives critical to his agenda.
DEMOCRATS REPACK $739B CLIMATE TAX BILL AS KEY TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
“President Biden presented his vision for our country to the State of the Union by prioritizing investments in education, health care, growing the workforce and building our economy. bottom up and down the middle, not top down,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The “budget reflects these priorities”.
Biden, in particular, is eager to boost the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by double digits to help it meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030. The White House is also proposing budget increases for the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice in an effort to combat what it sees as monopolistic business practices by corporate America.
While the White House has presented a budget of $5.8 trillion, the document is just a starting point. Congressional owners from both parties are working to hammer out a deal that can garner 60 votes in an evenly divided Senate.
Although bipartisan, such a deal is likely to benefit Democrats more than Republicans, as the former control the flow of legislation through Congress.
Given this reality, Democrats are pushing to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and to increase welfare spending over national defense.
Republicans, however, say they don’t want to be just a rubber stamp for the Democratic majority.
“If we want to get a full year [spending] bills during this Congress, Democrats must commit to a bipartisan framework that ditches poison pills, preserves legacy runners, and demonstrates a serious commitment to our military,” said Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Republicans specifically pledge to reject any government funding deal if it repeals the Hyde Amendment.
“We are united in our resolve to preserve more than 45 years of consensus against taxpayer funding for abortion,” 48 GOP senators wrote in a recent letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
GOP lawmakers also say they are unlikely to support a government funding deal that does not include equal increases in defense and social spending. They argue that anything less than a fair increase would jeopardize America’s national security infrastructure as Russia and China ramp up their aggression abroad.
Lawmakers risk a government shutdown if they don’t bridge divides and pass a funding bill by September 30.
GOP leaders are hesitant to shut down government so close to midterms, however. Senior Republicans note that the government shutdown has backfired on the party in the past, with voters often blaming them for the stalemate.
Republicans favor passing a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, to avoid a shutdown. The move would give the party a better chance of negotiating a better budget deal across the board, especially if it regains control of Congress in November.
Democrats frown on the idea, arguing that a bridge funding measure would keep the government funded at levels set in May this year and ignore 40-year high inflation.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“The stakes of inaction are too high not to complete our job,” Leahy said. “The burden of inflation would make continued long-term resolution untenable, with serious consequences for communities and families across the country and for our national security.”
Republicans say the only way to prevent such an outcome is for Democrats to compromise and meet with them halfway on a budget deal.
“Democrats have to get serious or, unfortunately, I think we’ll end up with a long term [continuing resolution]”Shelby said.