The measure, known as a rolling resolution, essentially holds federal spending at its current rate. It paves the way for lawmakers to continue working on a series of bills known as an omnibus, which would fund federal agencies through fiscal year 2023, which ends Sept. 30.
The omnibus could enable new increases in federal spending in a wide variety of areas, from government programs focused on the economy to new money for the military and its veterans. Lawmakers also hope to tie the credit package to billions of dollars in emergency funding, fulfilling the Biden administration’s request to assist Ukraine and respond to recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Ian.
“No drama, no stalemate, no government shutdown this week,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said on the chamber floor as voting began, hours after acknowledging that there still “much work to be done”. about a broader spending deal.
In an early, encouraging sign, Congressional negotiators reached an agreement Tuesday on what they described as a “framework” for omnibus legislation. Two days later, the parties agreed on funding levels for broad spending categories, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive talks.
Otherwise, however, the architects of the still-forming package – Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) – have not shared any other details as they work to complete a massive book that will likely be thousands of pages long. The bill is also expected to include funding for many legislators’ pet projects, popularly known as ear tags. And the Democrats have committed to include an election reform bill as part of the pending legislation.
Congress reaches early deal to fund government, races to avoid shutdown
Even once they come to an agreement, Democrats and Republicans still need to work together to pass it in the twilight of the legislative year. The calendar is especially tricky in the narrowly divided, slow-acting Senate, where each omnibus needs 10 GOP votes to avoid a filibuster.
To add to the headache, some Republicans have been trying in recent days to slow down the process at Rep.’s urging. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the minority leader in the House who is now vying to become speaker. Party lawmakers have argued that Congress should not pass a long-term funding package until next year, when the GOP will take control of the chamber — and hopes to use the negotiations to force cuts.
Democrats and Republicans scramble to close year-end tax and spending deal
“I don’t know why any Republican, let alone 10, would want to help them do that in those circumstances,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said at a news conference earlier this week.
On Thursday, Lee took to the Senate floor to blast the “corrupt process” at work in pursuit of an omnibus. Emphasizing that “no one wants a shutdown,” he proposed an amendment that would have kept federal spending at existing levels until March — though lawmakers ultimately rejected it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for his part, has tried to put pressure on the delicate talks: while While he has praised progress in omnibus negotiations, the GOP leader has said the chamber has until December 22 — a day before funding actually runs out — to reach a deal. Otherwise, McConnell emphasizes that his party would not accept a “short-term” measure until early next year.
“That’s the deadline, and those are the two options,” he said this week.