14 Days Until Government Funding Runs Out, Little Movement on Averting Government Shutdown

Washington Strategic Consulting

September 15, 2023 2:05 pm

Here Is What We Know:

  • House Republicans are discussing a three-to-four-week stopgap funding measure to avert a partial government shutdown starting Oct. 1. So far, The House has been unable to pass 11 out of 12 annual bills that typically fund the government, except for one covering military construction and veterans’ affairs.
  • GOP hardliners have expressed opposition to a stop-gap measure unless it contains conservative priorities, threatening to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his role if he allows a vote on such a bill.
  • McCarthy has announced the launch of a Biden impeachment inquiry over the business dealings of his son, Hunter, and the family finances. “The best I can tell is they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government,” Biden said.

What We Expect: The most realistic scenario is for Congress to pass a continuing resolution, stop-gap measure, that extends 2023 spending levels for a designated period. No decision has been made on the time frame of the CR; however, the three-week option discussed at Wednesday’s conference meeting may be the happy medium between a 24-hour bill some have floated, and the 60 days McCarthy was considering.

Read on for a more detailed breakdown

House Republicans Threaten Shutdown

The need for a continuing resolution stems from a divide between the chambers over appropriations levels. Despite reaching a deal on spending caps to avert a debt ceiling crisis in May, House GOP conservatives are shortchanging Democrats appropriation request while the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, has added more money.

Because the Senate is unlikely to agree to these cuts, and Biden won’t sign them, House Republicans have put an official stamp on their intent to shut the government down this September.

  • The House Republican caucus is intent on passing bills that Democrats find unacceptable; including conservative amendments on abortion and other social issues.
  • Disagreement has led to several heated debates during House Appropriations Committee markups, especially after Republicans opted to eliminate funding for three LGBTQ projects in the transportation and housing bill after including them in the original legislation.
  • Republican House members have 62% of earmarked funds – nearly $7.4 billion – while allocating about 28% to Democratic projects at just under $2.8 billion.

Appropriations for HHS

  • The House Labor, HHS, and Education bill has yet to pass through the full committee, likely due to Republicans having tucked anti-abortion language into nearly every corner of the appropriations process, complicating the delicate negotiations.
  • For now, Democrats are largely counting on the Senate to act as a “firewall” against the House health proposals citing the upper chamber’s recent success in voting eight out of 12 spending bills out of committee with the support of Republicans and without the new abortion riders.