Congress once again avoided a federal government shutdown, passing a two-tiered continuing resolution (CR) as House fiscal hardliners grind business to a halt in response.
The CR continues Fiscal Year 2023-level appropriations for all 12 appropriations bills, setting a funding deadline of January 19, 2024, for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction, and energy and water development. The remaining federal government program funding expires February 2, 2024. The bill also extends the 2018 Farm Bill through September 30, 2024, preventing further lapses in USDA program authorities on January 1.
The CR passed out of the House on November 14, 336-95, with 127 Republicans and 209 Democrats voting in favor. The Senate passed the measure on November 15, 87-11, with President Joe Biden signing the legislation on November 16.
Passage of the CR punts final FY24 appropriations decisions past January 1 and sets the stage for an automatic 1-percent reduction in federal discretionary spending. The cut will take effect in April 2024. The debt ceiling deal brokered in June included a provision requiring the automatic reduction if Congress could not pass a full fiscal year funding package by the end of 2023.
Congress must continue working to pass a full appropriations package for FY24. The House must pass five more appropriations bills while the Senate has nine more to consider; however, Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is now contending with similar hurdles to House business that Speaker emeritus Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., experienced over the summer after passage of the debt limit deal.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus voted against a rule resolution, which any bill considered on the House floor must first clear in order to set the process for further debate and amendment, for the appropriations bill funding the Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, and fire service grants in retaliation against Johnson’s approval of the CR. Congressman Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Freedom Caucus Chair, called it “a shot across the bow.” The move marks the second time this year the Caucus has protested a rule on the Floor, causing a pause in House business and hitting any momentum gathered in the FY24 appropriations process.
Other appropriations bills were pulled from consideration for the week as a result, and the House gaveled out earlier than scheduled for the Thanksgiving break.
NSDC will continue to track the appropriations process and update Members accordingly. Contact Cole Arreola-Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Director, for more information at email@example.com.