Government funding is still set to expire on November 17, but little progress has been made since Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) at the end of September.
The Senate is currently considering a minibus appropriations package that consists of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill, and the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies appropriations bill. The funding levels in this package passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a strong bipartisan basis and are consistent with those in the debt limit deal that passed earlier this year.
In the House, following 22 chaotic days without a Speaker that paused all legislative activity in the chamber, House Republicans have elected Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) to be the new Speaker of the House. Speaker Johnson, who joined Congress in 2017, previously led the Republican Study Committee, which has a history of proposing numerous policy proposals that would harm federal workers, including cuts to employee pay and retirement benefits as well as changes to make it easier for managers to fire federal employees. And on the House floor in February, Johnson said he would make it a top priority to end the expanded remote work agencies utilized during the pandemic.
The House has now turned to the consideration of the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. To date, the House has passed four of the 12 appropriations bills. However, due to significant funding cuts that go beyond those in the debt limit agreement and controversial policy riders, the bills have had very little bipartisan support.
It has been reported that Speaker Johnson said he would support a continuing resolution through either January 15 or April 15 while the House continues voting on its full-year fiscal 2024 appropriations measures. However, just a few weeks ago, he voted against the CR, stating that no one “desires a shutdown” but he was pushing to “change the weaponization of the federal agencies that are designed to protect and serve the American people and instead are being used against them.” It is unclear if other members of the Republican Conference would also support another CR.
NTEU will continue to advocate against a shutdown and press for adequate funding for our agencies in a final funding agreement.