United States Capitol building at night

Legislative Updates – September 11, 2023

FY 24 Appropriations

The Senate returned to Washington this week, and the House will return on Tuesday of next week, leaving just eleven legislative days with both chambers in session before the September 30th end of the fiscal year.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the White House all agree on the need for a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to allow more time for the consideration of appropriations bills in each chamber and for further FY 24 negotiations.

While eventually we may see a bipartisan FY 24 spending agreement with more funding than the House would like and more policy riders than the Senate would like, first Congressional leaders will spend the next several weeks negotiating a CR to avert a government shutdown. Schumer prefers a CR through early December while McCarthy prefers a CR into November.

Finding a compromise between the House and Senate bills will be a heavy lift this year because of wide disparities in funding levels. The roughly three-dozen conservative House Freedom Caucus members have pressured leadership to make additional spending cuts to the bills to reduce overall funding to FY 22 levels as well as include a number of controversial policy riders.

The House Freedom Caucus has threatened to oppose a CR, which would extend the FY 23 appropriations package passed by President Biden and Democratic Congress, without inclusion of the House passed border security bill, addressing the “weaponization” of the Justice Department and FBI, and ending “woke” policies in the Pentagon. These provisions are a nonstarter for congressional Democrats. Some have also called for a separate vote on opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

Furthermore, the White House is seeking a $44 billion supplemental funding package, above the debt ceiling spending caps, which would include funding for Ukraine, disaster relief, and the border. Speaker McCarthy has said that House GOP leaders will explore potential offsets, and that he wants Ukraine assistance taken up separately and along with border security funding and policy changes.

The Senate plans to take up a three-bill appropriations package on the floor next week. The Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD bills will be the Senate’s first FY 24 bills to be considered on the floor. Senate appropriators moved all 12 bills out of Committee on a bipartisan basis before the August recess.

 House leadership hopes to take up the defense spending bill next week, and then perhaps the Homeland Security and State-Foreign Operations bill the week of September 18. One of the 12 appropriations bills passed the House floor in July, and House appropriators have moved 10 of the 12 appropriations bills out of Committee. The House Labor-HHS bill advanced out of Subcommittee but not Full Committee and it’s unclear at this juncture whether we will see any further action in the House on the Labor-HHS bill before the two chambers eventually turn to final House-Senate conference negotiations on this bill, but for the next few weeks much of the focus of Congressional leaders will be on passage of a CR and avoiding a potential government shutdown.

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