FAA Reauthorization, Appropriations Bills, and Military Promotions on Agenda
The Senate has a lot on its plate as it grapples with a looming deadline for several important business items. Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), appropriations bills to replenish government agencies, and votes on military promotions are all awaiting Senate action. The clock is ticking, with the current FAA authorization set to expire on December 31.
FAA Extension Blocked by Senator Bennet
Efforts to extend the FAA reauthorization package hit a roadblock when Senator Michael Bennet blocked a vote on the matter. Senator Ted Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, sought a vote on the extension, but Bennet objected. In defense of his objection, Bennet emphasized the importance of fulfilling obligations to national security, democracy, and the western world.
Negotiations with Biden Administration Underway
Discussions between senators and officials from the Biden administration are ongoing this week. One contentious issue revolves around additional aid to Ukraine, as senators refuse to pass the aid unless it is tied to strict border security measures. The supplemental aid requested by the White House includes funds for Israel and totals approximately $106 billion.
Spending Figure Agreement Necessary to Avoid Shutdown
In addition to the aforementioned business items, senators will also need to agree on a topline spending figure during the holiday break. This agreement is crucial to ensure the smooth passage of a comprehensive package by the January 19 deadline. Failure to reach an agreement may result in a potential government shutdown.
Staggered Deadlines Proposed to Avoid “Omnibus” Package
House Speaker Mike Johnson has proposed the creation of two staggered deadlines for funding different parts of the government. This approach aims to prevent Congress from consolidating all 12 spending bills into a massive “omnibus” package. The bills covering various sectors such as veterans affairs, agriculture, energy and water, transportation, and housing and urban development must be resolved by January 19, while the remaining eight appropriations bills must be decided upon by February 2.
In conclusion, the Senate has a busy schedule ahead as it addresses the FAA reauthorization, appropriations bills, and military promotions. Negotiations with the Biden administration continue, and agreement on a spending figure is necessary to avert a potential government shutdown. The proposed staggered deadlines offer a potential solution to prevent an overwhelming “omnibus” package.