What We’re Hearing on Government Funding as Congress Returns

September 26, 2023

Lawmakers will gavel in today as they look to avert a government shutdown ahead of Saturday’s deadline. Here’s a look at where things stand and what we’re hearing as Congress scrambles to fund the government:

  • Senate moving to “jam” House… Senate leadership is reportedly close to a final deal on a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government funded into mid-late November. According to the latest reports out of Washington, the emerging deal would fund the government at current fiscal year (FY) 2023 levels for an additional 45 days, but would include limited supplemental funding for Ukraine and disaster relief with the goal of trying to make the forthcoming CR more palatable to House Republicans. However, these final details are still in flux, especially as the White House continues to press Congress to honor its request for supplemental appropriations.


  • House races to pass spending bills… House Republican leadership is pressing forward on its latest plan to individually consider pending appropriations bills — as well as a CR — during this week’s work period. It’s an ambitious goal for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his leadership team, especially considering that there are reportedly as many as eight House Republicans who are planning to vote against a procedural rule to bring four appropriations bills — Agriculture-FDA, Defense, Homeland Security, and State-Foreign Operations — to the floor for consideration this week. The Speaker himself is also in a precarious position with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, as it is almost certain that he will need Democratic votes to ensure the government does not shut down. Displeased with the level of bipartisan cooperation on funding levels set within the Fiscal Responsibility Act earlier this year, Freedom Caucus conservatives have been vocal about their willingness to file a motion to vacate the speakership without their consent on a final deal.


  • Additionally… Intel from Capitol Hill suggests that House GOP Appropriators are eyeing full committee markups of the panel’s FY 2024 spending bills for Labor-HHS-Education and Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) on Thursday of this week. However, this schedule is in flux pending the outcome of floor votes this week.


  • What’s next? In order to expedite consideration of a CR, the Senate would need a “time agreement” requiring unanimous consent from all 100 senators. If the CR does not include additional supplemental funding, that could be enough to assuage some potential holdouts, namely Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), from blocking swift passage. Additional amendment votes will likely be needed prior to the final vote to ensure full chamber cooperation. However, a shutdown in some form or fashion cannot be ruled out without cross-party cooperation in the House.