The House plans to vote either December 14 or 15 on a one-week funding bill as negotiators for a year-long spending bill remain deadlocked on a topline figure. The Senate is expected to take-up the measure by the end of the week when current funding authority expires.
“We’re going to need a little more time beyond this week to get an omnibus done,” said New York Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer from the Senate floor on December 13. “To avoid a shutdown this Friday, the Senate should be ready to pass a one-week [continuing resolution] CR by the end of the week to give negotiators more time to finish an agreement by the holidays.”
House and Senate negotiators have been meeting for weeks to determine the final cost of an omnibus spending bill which would fund the federal government through fiscal year 2023. Both sides are deadlocked on a $26 billion difference on the total amount for domestic spending.
The two negotiators for the Senate, Senators Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, the chair and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said on December 12 that they were making good progress and felt confident that they would reach an agreement soon. House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, also told reporters that she thought negotiations were getting closer and that she’s “optimistic we can get to yes.”
Once negotiators reach a final topline number they can put the final touches on an omnibus bill which has been largely drafted already. But, to get a bill passed by both chambers of Congress and sent to President Biden before December 23 would require reaching agreement in the next few days. The Senate would need several days to complete debate and final passage of the bill unless lawmakers decide to forgo the usual process and pass it through unanimous consent. The measure would then move to the House for its approval.
An omnibus bill could also serve as a vehicle for legislation beyond government funding such as tax extenders and a retirement bill. A decision to add those measures at the last minute can only come from leadership and so far they have given no indication of their intent to add tax and retirement provisions.
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