House. Even with a government shutdown looming at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, the House has no plans yet to take up a continuing resolution that would keep the government open. Instead, House leadership is planning to take up four individual FY 2024 spending bills – Defense, Homeland Security, State/Foreign Operations, and Agriculture/FDA. The first step in that process will be consideration of the rule for floor debate. A vote on the rule could occur Tuesday evening. Even if the rule passes (and the leadership has had a spotty track record lately on that front) and if the House approves all four bills, those actions will not avert a shutdown as the House versions of these bills will not be approved by the Senate and no FY 2024 appropriations bills will be enacted by Sept. 30.
At some point, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may try again to pass a Republican drafted CR, but the details of a new version remain in flux. The version that did not get a vote last week (because leaders realized it didn’t have enough Republican support to pass) would have provided funding through Oct. 31 at funding levels 8% below current levels for all programs except defense and veterans spending. The new version that is being discussed would reportedly cut the programs that are not protected by 27% for the period covered by the CR. Lately, McCarthy has been floating a 45-day time period but that, too, is unresolved.
With some Republicans opposed to any CR (and Democrats opposed to the House Republican versions), it is still unclear whether McCarthy will be able to pass a resolution with only Republican votes. The impasse over funding the government is likely to delay the House’s plan to take a two-week break at the end of this week.
Senate. It will take bipartisan support to pass a CR in the Senate, given the 60-vote parliamentary hurdle, and Senate Republicans have been reluctant to get ahead of House Speaker McCarthy as he deals with recalcitrant members of his caucus. However, with the clock ticking down, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took the first step last week toward moving a CR to the Senate floor. At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the House-passed FAA reauthorization bill, which Schumer plans to use as a vehicle for the Senate CR.
Schumer is negotiating with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the content of a CR that is expected to continue spending into December at current FY 2023 levels. Of course, Senate passage of a CR, which will have Republican support, does not guarantee that McCarthy will bring up the Senate bill for a House floor vote.
Shutdown Plans. The Office of Management and Budget has compiled links to contingency plans from federal departments and agencies with details on how operations will be affected in the event of a government shutdown. The OMB website also provides answers to “Frequently Asked Questions During a Lapse in Appropriations.”
Committee Action of Note
Wednesday, September 27
Thursday, September 28