Staggered Deadlines and Potential Consequences
In a race against time, lawmakers must pass appropriations bills for key government sectors by January 19th. Failure to meet this deadline will require a temporary spending patch until September 30th. However, if this patch is not implemented, the Fiscal Responsibility Act will initiate a 1% across-the-board cut of over $50 billion starting in April.
Divided Government Calls for Bipartisanship
Amidst the divided government, Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasizes the need for bipartisanship. He states that passing partisan, extremist legislation that has no chance of becoming law is a futile exercise that the American people will not support.
A Contentious Appropriations Bill
The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, has approved an appropriations bill that significantly reduces the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency while encouraging increased energy and mineral production on public lands. However, Senate Democrats have voiced concerns about the bill and its lack of support within the upper chamber.
Concerns and Delays
Prior to the holiday recess, some GOP lawmakers expressed their concerns about the lack of brought-to-floor appropriation bills. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has not scheduled any votes on appropriations-related bills upon the return in January. Instead, the first vote will be regarding the confirmation of John A. Kazen as U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Texas.
Remaining Funding Needs
Several government agencies, including Homeland Security, Energy and Water, Labor and Education, still require funding. The Senate has previously approved a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill for government programs throughout 2023. However, Senators will have to work on a border security measure that will be integrated into a multibillion-dollar national supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.