Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
February 27, 2024

There is still no clear path to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, with just four days until Congress runs into a key funding deadline at midnight Friday.  Funding for military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development will expire after March 1st.  Funding for other federal departments and agencies, including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services will expire after March 8th.  Lawmakers had hoped to release the text of a bipartisan spending deal Sunday evening, but the bill has yet to be unveiled as high-level disagreements over policy issues remain with House Speaker Mike Johnson, (R-Louisiana) under immense pressure from his right flank to fight for conservative wins.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-New York), warned of the risk of a shutdown in a “Dear Colleague” letter Sunday, and said that “intense discussions” are underway with Johnson but have yet to bear fruit.  Hoping to move negotiations along, President Joe Biden will convene the top four congressional leaders this morning as the White House ratchets up pressure on lawmakers to also pass additional funding to Ukraine ahead of the partial government shutdown deadline.  Complicating matters is the schedule, with senators having returned to Washington, D.C. on Monday evening, but the House won’t be back until Wednesday night for votes, leaving little time ahead of the fast-approaching Friday deadline. In the Senate, agreement would need to be reached with the consent of all 100 senators to swiftly move any legislation before the deadline to avert a partial shutdown.  Another key question looming over the week’s schedule is when the Senate will act on the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was narrowly impeached by House Republicans earlier this month.  It’s unclear how Leader Schumer will try to dispense with the articles.  He could try to dismiss them, or he could refer them to a special committee, both of which would require a simple majority vote.  No matter which he chooses, members on both sides of the aisle widely expect the chamber to spend the bare minimal amount of time possible on the topic, especially with government funding on the front burner.

For today, the Senate is also expected to work on confirmation of the nomination of Jacqueline Becerra to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, confirmation of the nomination of David Seymour Leibowitz to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida and confirmation of the nomination of Hampton Y. Dellinger to be Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel, for the term of five years.

As mentioned, the House will reconvene from its Presidents’ Day Recess tomorrow, with first votes at 6:30 P.M. at which time it is expected to begin work on twelve bills under suspension of the Rules.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.