As the country approaches a potential shutdown, congressional leaders are steadily advancing toward a probable funding agreement.
On Sunday night, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Leahy stated that bipartisan discussions on an omnibus budget measure will continue.
“Chairman Leahy believes that sufficient progress in talks occurred over the weekend to postpone the presentation of the omnibus appropriations bill for the time being,” he added. The bipartisan and bicameral talks continue.”
If Congress fails to produce an omnibus budget bill or a continuing resolution (CR), which would retain spending at the current level, the government would shut down on Friday.
An omnibus spending package would be around $1,7 trillion in size and hundreds of pages long, so even if lawmakers reached an agreement on spending levels soon, Congress would likely adopt a one-week CR to give Congress time to create an omnibus bill.
Republican leaders have refused to support “parity” in spending between defense and non-defense programs; Republicans argue that Democrats have spent enough on climate change and other liberal achievements in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Dems want a year-long CR, but Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell want a short-term CR that extends into early 2023, giving House Republicans bargaining strength when they control the House in early January.
Congress has failed to reach an agreement on how much money to deliver to Ukraine. The Biden administration has requested $37 billion from Congress.
In a meeting with Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky, Joe Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to continue helping Ukraine with economic, security, and humanitarian aid.”
Incoming House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) has advocated for Ukraine to receive stronger weapons in order to destroy Russia’s military.
It is also likely that congressional leaders would try to include contentious legislation, such as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), inside an omnibus or continuing resolution budget package. Rep. Tom Emmer, the House Majority Whip-elect, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), and Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) have all spoken out against the possibility of slipping a strongly opposed item inside a budget package.