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Congress Inches Towards a Government Funding Deal

Congressional leaders are steadily moving towards a potential government funding deal as the government soon faces the prospect of a government shutdown.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) said on Sunday night that bipartisan negotiations would continue on an omnibus spending bill.

He explained, “Chairman Leahy feels that sufficient progress in negotiations took place over the weekend to delay the introduction of the omnibus appropriations bill for the time being. Bipartisan and bicameral negotiations continue.”

The government will shut down on Friday if Congress fails to pass either an omnibus spending bill or a continuing resolution (CR), which would keep spending at the same level.

An omnibus spending bill would total roughly $1,7 trillion and be thousands of pages long, so if even congressional leaders were to shortly strike a deal on spending levels, Congress would likely pass a one-week CR to give Congress time to draft an omnibus bill.

Republican leaders have refused to go along in “parity” between defense and non-defense spending programs; Republicans contend that Democrats have spent enough on climate change and other leftist victories in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Democrats want to pass a year-long CR while Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) want to pass a short-term CR into early 2023, giving House Republicans negotiating power when they formally take the House in early January.

Congress also has yet to strike a deal on how much aid they would want to give to Ukraine. The Biden administration has asked Congress for $37 billion.

Biden, in a conversation with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, “reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security, economic and humanitarian assistance.”

Incoming House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) called for heavier arms to Ukraine to destroy the Russian military.

It also remains possible that congressional leaders could try to sneak controversial legislation, such as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), into an omnibus or CR spending bill. However, Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the House Majority Whip-elect, Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA), and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), have come out against this potential move to slip a highly opposed bill into a spending measure.


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