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Mike Johnson

Johnson hopes for topline funding deal by midweek

Speaker Mike Johnson has told House colleagues that he expects negotiators to release a topline spending number toward the middle of this week, according to multiple sources.

This is a drum we’re going to keep beating: The first tranche of government spending expires in 45 days (Jan. 19), with the remaining federal agencies — including the Pentagon — running out of money on Feb. 2. The House and Senate are only scheduled to be in session for another seven days this month. And then lawmakers leave for Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Senate returns Jan. 8, while the House is back the following day. There are only 10 days at that point until the first shutdown deadline.

The House has all but given up on passing any more appropriations bills — after promising to do so. Infighting among House Republicans over their GOP-only bills limited them to passing seven of 12 bills.

Over in the Senate, there’s real pessimism about whether senators will ever vote on another FY2024 funding bill, an extraordinary dynamic given how bipartisan the Senate’s process was inside the Appropriations Committee.

You’ll recall that the first Senate three-bill minibus — which included the least controversial of the 12 bills — took more than a month to pass because conservatives objected to the idea of grouping them together. This prevented the Senate from reaching an agreement on amendment votes. It finally got resolved and the minibus was approved overwhelmingly.

But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t put any of the other nine appropriations bills on the floor since that vote, which was more than a month ago. Democratic leaders point to GOP intransigence preventing an orderly and timely process. But Republican appropriators are suggesting Schumer has given up completely.

“I’m wondering whether the leader has any intention of doing any more appropriations bills,” Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) told us. “And I just don’t know the answer to that question.”

— Jake Sherman and Andrew Desiderio

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