Congressional negotiators have reportedly reached a “framework” for a bill to fund the government for the next year, and are optimistic about getting it passed by Dec. 23, allowing members to head home for Christmas. Since the current continuing resolution funding the government runs out on Friday, that means another one-week extension to get the full bill done, and the House is moving on that short-term bill, possibly voting on Wednesday. If this omnibus funding bill doesn’t get passed before the new Congress is seated in January, the House will be controlled by Republicans, creating the virtual certainty of a nastier fight and a worse bill, and the strong likelihood of a government shutdown—and, significantly, the deal is supported by House and Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans, but not House Republicans.
“We have a framework that provides a path forward to enact an omnibus next week,” according to House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro. “Now, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will work around-the-clock to negotiate the details of final 2023 spending bills that can be supported by the House and Senate and receive President Biden’s signature.”
“If all goes well, we should be able to finish an omnibus appropriations package by December 23rd,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
This is good news, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is very annoyed about it.
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McCarthy, who is trying to lock down far-right votes to become speaker of the House, has been pressuring his Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, to refuse a deal now and push the negotiations into next year and the next Congress.
In a Fox News appearance last week, McCarthy asked, “Why would you want to work on anything if we have the gavel inside Congress?”
“Wait till we’re in charge,” he added. And, CNN reports, on Tuesday, just before McConnell described the deal framework as “broadly appealing,” McCarthy was telling his members, “Hell, no.” That committed obstructionist McConnell is on board, and McCarthy is fiercely opposed, is a telling sign of what the next two years of divided government will look like. And maybe, despite McConnell’s public support of McCarthy for speaker, a hint about McConnell’s assessment of McCarthy’s leadership.
Doing the spending bill next year “would require a very delicate balancing act between the House Republican majority and the Senate Democratic majority,” Republican Sen. Roger Wicker noted, adding that it’s “better not to have that major hurdle that the new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has to negotiate … it’s too much to ask.” Again, this speaks to both the size of the task and the leadership of the man.
Since this funding bill does not deal with the debt ceiling, McCarthy will have a giant hostage to take in 2023, though. The entire economy will be his hostage, basically. If there’s one thing Democrats needed to deal with during the lame duck, this was it, and it isn’t happening. Just fantastic.
The bill will include some key priorities, though. “I expect an omnibus will contain priorities both sides want to see passed into law, including more funding for Ukraine and the Electoral Count Act,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday, hours ahead of the announcement of a preliminary deal. The Electoral Count Act is the 1887 law Donald Trump attempted to exploit to overturn the 2020 election by getting Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election. The plan now is to reform the law to make absolutely 100% clear that the vice president can’t do that. It’s not enough to prevent a future Republican coup, but it does shut down one avenue.
For now, we wait to hear more details of the compromise deal as they emerge, and watch the Republican angst grow.
Jenifer Fernandez Ancona from Way to Win, is our guest on this week’s Daily Kos’ The Brief. When we spoke with Jenifer back in April she was right about messaging and had the data to prove it. More election data has begun coming in from the midterms and Jenifer is back to talk about what worked and what needs to change going forward in order for the Democratic Party to keep winning.
Republicans hold up government funding bill amid their own internal power struggles