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The dome of the US Capitol

Congress looks elsewhere as spending clock ticks

If you want a sense of where things are headed with the FY2024 spending bills, just look at the House and Senate floors this week.

In the House, senior GOP leadership aides tell us that there’s no expected floor action on appropriations bills. If you recall, the House has struggled mightily with the appropriations process during the last few weeks. Speaker Mike Johnson and Republicans had to yank a few spending bills because of serious — and perhaps intractable — disagreements within the party. The House Republican leadership was hoping that the November break would cool things down. Stay tuned on that front.

Across the Capitol, the Senate is going to vote on several judicial nominations, then shift to consideration of President Joe Biden’s massive foreign aid supplemental package for Israel, Ukraine and other countries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced (see above).

But the government-funding clock is ticking. In 53 days, funding runs out for Agriculture, FDA, Energy and Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bills. The rest of the government runs out of money on Feb. 2.

The House and Senate still need to come up with a topline spending number. Any compromise is almost certain to leave out the deep spending cuts and culture war provisions that the House Republicans have insisted upon. So we don’t entirely know how the Senate and the House will find a deal. And Johnson has firmly ruled out any more short-term spending fixes.

Congress has avoided government shutdowns this year. But the Jan. 19 deadline will be here fast if lawmakers stick to their currently planned schedules for both chambers. Just because there’s no crisis this month, January could still get ugly.

— Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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