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Mike Johnson

House GOP leadership struggling with funding bill as deadline nears

This will come as no surprise, but House Republicans are struggling to round up enough votes to help pass the $1.2 trillion FY2024 minibus funding bill.

These aren’t hair-on-fire concerns quite yet — but it’s approaching that level. The whip count at Thursday’s early afternoon vote series came in softer than the House Republican leadership would’ve liked. Leadership aides, however, expressed confidence they’d be able to deliver enough votes to hit the two-thirds needed to pass this 1,000-page measure. A partial government shutdown begins at midnight, although it won’t be fully felt until Monday.

There are numerous House Republicans concerned with the package’s lack of strict border security provisions, the huge price tag, the secretive negotiating process and even the lack of a pay hike for members of Congress. The unrest is especially acute among conservatives, who dislike spending bills anyway but are deeply upset with Speaker Mike Johnson here.

The math is simple: House Democratic leaders believe roughly 10 to 15 of their members will vote no. That means Republicans have to put up roughly 100 votes to get this legislation to the needed 290 votes. That’s a pretty low bar for Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer. But it’s still proving difficult.

This is not good for the leadership: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chair of the Labor-HHS subcommittee, said Thursday night that he’s a no on the package because of earmarks. Aderholt resisted earmarks on the House side, yet senators from both parties inserted hundreds into his bill. Aderholt complained that these are “directed toward services for illegal immigrants and facilities providing routine abortion services, including late-term abortions.”

Senior members of the House Republican leadership say they are nearly certain Johnson won’t be able to garner a majority of the majority on this vote. On the last minibus, 132 Republicans voted yes. That’ll be tough to match this time around.

As of now, the House is planning to vote on the package at 11 a.m.

The Senate: We’ll start off by noting that pretty much every senator wants to get out of here in a timely fashion for the looming two-week recess. The FY2024 appropriations process has been long and arduous, so there’s little desire to drag things out any further.

Even conservatives like Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are pushing for a time agreement that would allow senators to pass the package before the midnight deadline tonight.

However, around two dozen Republican amendments have already been submitted for consideration, so that number will have to be whittled down before any deal is reached on the floor procedure.

And Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is again threatening to hold up final passage in protest of the months-long delay in new military aid for Ukraine. Bennet said Thursday that he wants to better understand if and how the House will act on Ukraine aid before signing off on any time agreement.

“It’s horrendous for us to go home for two weeks with this unresolved,” Bennet said. “Obviously it gets harder to resolve as the week goes on. But Ukraine is out of bullets and ammunition.”

With Congress finally — thankfully — wrapping up the FY2024 appropriations process, here are some winners and losers.

Winners

Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine): The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up all 12 funding bills, and the final FY2024 package hewed more closely to the Senate’s bipartisan product. Sorry, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)!

Earmarks: Earmarks are back in a big way. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) got $17.5 million for the Eisenhower Library. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) got $11.2 million for AnMed Health.

Retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was a winner. He and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) locked in $15 million for the Charleston Area Medical Center and $15 million for Marshall University. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) procured $15 million each for Lyon College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Collins, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, has a strong earmark game. She and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) partnered on a number of projects.

A quiet earmark champ — Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). Baldwin, an appropriator up for reelection this year, inserted dozens of earmarks across numerous bills.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), ranking Democrat on House Appropriations, won bipartisan praise from members for her work over the last month.

Israel: The supplemental is stuck, but Israel is getting $3.8 billion in funding as part of the package, including $3.3 billion in foreign military financing over the next 30 days.

Neutral

Kevin McCarthy: The former speaker’s Fiscal Responsibility Act is alive. But McCarthy is no longer the speaker. You win some, you lose some.

Losers

Virginia: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) got $200 million for the FBI headquarters. If you fund it, they will come.

The House Freedom Caucus: When you complain about everything, no one listens to you about anything.

Also news: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) released a fact sheet about his Ukraine bill. It’s subject to change, but here’s a one-pager on what he’s thinking.

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.