President Joe Biden signed the continuing resolution to keep the government running Thursday night, tweeting: “[W]e have more to do. I urge Congress to address our national security and domestic needs—and House Republicans to stop wasting time on extreme bills and honor our bipartisan budget agreement.” That sums up what’s next for Congress when they return on Nov. 28 from their Thanksgiving break.
This CR extends current levels of funding for government operations in two tranches, with expiration dates early next year. It funds military construction and veterans programs, Agriculture and food agencies, and the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development until Jan. 19; and the State, Defense, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services departments, among others, until Feb. 2.
Because this clean bill with no massive cuts passed with a majority of Democratic votes, the Freedom Caucus wing of the House GOP is on a rampage, which is going to make finishing the job of funding the government permanently by Feb. 2 difficult at best. The House has passed seven out of 12 total funding bills and has struggled to pass the remainder. Also, their bills will not pass in the Senate or be signed by Biden because of poison-pill riders and slashed funding levels.
This means they will have to be reconciled with the Senate appropriations bills, only three of which have passed so far. The Senate is ahead of the game, however, because they have agreed to funding levels and passed all of the bills out of the Appropriations Committee. It’s just a matter of the long process of getting them on the floor and passed. Because everything takes forever in the Senate, they tend to package up several bills into one—it takes less floor time to do minibus or omnibus packages. House Republicans hate omnibus bills because they often come with other must-pass legislation attached.
The other must-pass matter this time around is Biden’s $105 billion supplemental request for aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific. That’s already become toxic. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s first act in the job was to split aid to Israel and tie it to cutting funding for the IRS, a bill that won’t even make it to the Senate floor and which Biden would veto.
Complicating matters further, Senate Republicans are insisting that funding for Ukraine be tied to immigration reforms—not just increased funding for border security but also radical policy changes to the asylum system, which Democrats won’t accept. There’s a bipartisan Senate working group trying to hash that out, but it’s not going well or quickly, and it needs to be settled before the end of the year.
As if all that weren’t complicated enough, the House will return on Nov. 28 to face the potential expulsion of one of its members, Rep. George Santos, the GOP fabulist fraudster from New York. And the Senate is going to have to deal with Sen. Tommy Tuberville and his increasingly unhinged blockade of officer promotions, which threatens to cripple the military.
Lawmakers had better get all the rest and relaxation they can out of this Thanksgiving break, because the next four weeks will be hell. But hey, at least they won’t be gifting the nation another government shutdown for Christmas.
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Republicans are challenging labor leaders to fights and allegedly physically assaulting one another. Donald Trump says he will abolish reproductive rights entirely and is openly calling for the extermination of his detractors, referring to them as “vermin” on Veterans Day. The Republican Party has emerged from its corruption cocoon as a full-blown fascist movement.