United States Capitol building at night

Legislative Updates – September 18, 2023

FY 24 Appropriations

The House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both suffered setbacks this week as they tried to advance FY 24 appropriations bills in their respective chambers.

Each leader feels that passing appropriations bills will strengthen their hand in negotiating a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), needed by September 30 to avert a government shutdown and to provide leadership with more time to reach a FY 24 spending agreement. The House passed one of its twelve FY 24 appropriations bills in July, while the Senate has not yet passed any of its twelve FY 24 bills on the floor.

Earlier this week, Speaker McCarthy announced the House would proceed with an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. However, the announcement, which McCarthy hoped would placate conservatives in his conference, did not grease the wheels for advancing appropriations bills in the House. The House intended to consider its defense spending bill on the House floor, but had to cancel the vote when it became clear they did not have the votes, as House Freedom Caucus members are calling for larger cuts in nondefense spending before taking up the defense bill.

While the House looks to pass their bills on party-line votes, the Senate has taken a bipartisan track. However, this week Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) blocked a three-bill “minibus” package that included the FY 24 Military Construction-VA bill, Agriculture bill, and Transportation-HUD bill, because he and other conservatives would like to see each bill move individually. At this point it is unclear if Schumer will be able to find the 67 votes to proceed next week, if the Senate will move to take up the bills individually, or if an agreement of some kind will be reached. All three bills in the minibus were reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously earlier this year.

A number of options have been floated in the House to break the current impasse. Speaker McCarthy floated a CR, with the addition of conservative immigration/border policy provisions paired in exchange for Ukraine funding, but that has not gained traction due to opposition to Ukraine funding from a number of House conservatives. The conservative House Freedom Caucus and the GOP Main Street Caucus are discussing a short-term CR that includes immigration/border policy provisions. Conservatives have also discussed a CR with a one-percent reduction in funding across the board, and the inclusion of gun-related provisions. Meanwhile, McCarthy continues to face the threat of a motion to vacate vote.

A government shutdown is likely unless the House and Senate can reach a bipartisan agreement by September 30.

House WIOA Hearing

On Wednesday, September 20, at 10:15am Eastern, the House Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, Chaired by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), will hold a hearing on “Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers”. More details, including a link to watch the hearing live, are available here.

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