Saturday, January 28, 2023

Congress seeks to avoid partial government shutdown with one week of funding

The Senate Majority Leader said Monday that lawmakers should be prepared to quickly pass a federal government funding proposal for a week while negotiators continue to work on a longer-term spending bill.

Schumer described weekend talks on the funding package as “positive and productive talks,” enough that both sides are moving toward a deal, even if it’s not everything both sides want.

Congress finds itself in a familiar position, as the deadline to pass a spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown is midnight Friday. A vote to fund the government for a week gives negotiators more time, but also pushes the deadline back to December 23, giving lawmakers more incentive to compromise as they return to Washington during the holidays. face the prospect of living in

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration believes Congress has plenty of time to pass the funding measure. But he added: “If they need extra days to get it done, so be it.”

There are differences between the two sides over the amount allocated for non-defense expenditure in the coming financial year. Republicans have argued that Democrats have already secured funding for many health and environmental priorities through party-line votes.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said any final deal should fund defense at the level spelled out in the defense policy bill that passed the House last week, about $858 billion, and what President Joe Biden has requested , beyond that “without additional funds”. National Program.

“Our fellow Democrats have spent two years of massive domestic spending increases largely using party-line reconciliation bills outside the normal appropriations process,” McConnell said. “So clearly our allies can no longer demand even more, even more domestic spending than President Biden has requested in exchange for funding the United States military.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said last week that the two parties have about a $25 billion gap in non-defense domestic spending in what is expected to be a package of about $1.65 trillion.

With negotiations stalled last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was scheduled to introduce a full-year spending bill on Monday with Rep. Rosa Delaro, D-Conn. There are top Democrats on both the Senate and House appropriations committees. Leahy said the bill would “provide necessary increases in non-defense programs to prevent inflation and serve the American people.”

But Democratic leaders decided to delay the presentation of their bill. A Senate aide said Leahy believed “enough progress” was made during the weekend’s talks that talks would continue.

Lawmakers are expected to add several other priorities to the spending bill, including a request from the Biden administration for an additional $37 billion in aid to Ukraine, which some Senate leaders of both parties see as necessary as the country seeks protection from Russia. turns away.

Nation World News Desk
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