Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
February 29, 2024

Lawmakers plan to move quickly Thursday to pass yet another short-term government spending bill, delaying a shutdown deadline past the weekend to buy more time to finish delicate negotiations on funding the government.  Congressional leaders reached a deal Wednesday on a short-term funding extension to head off a partial government shutdown on Saturday with a deal that extends funding for some government agencies until March 8th and the rest until March 22nd.  It sets up a potential vote next week for six of the 12 appropriations bills that fund the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Interior, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Lawmakers would then have two more weeks to pass the remaining six spending bills that include funding for the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, Health and Human Services, and Labor.  To give the House and Senate Appropriations Committees adequate time to execute on this deal in principle, including drafting, preparing report language, scoring and other technical matters, and to allow members 72 hours to review, the short-term continuing resolution to fund agencies through March 8th and the 22nd is necessary.  House conservatives have threated to block the CR if Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) chooses to bring it to the floor under regular order, which would require the passage of a rule beforehand — a rule the conservatives could easily sink.  The current strategy is to bring the funding bills up by a procedure known as the suspension calendar, which bypasses the rule requirement but heightens the bar for passage; a two-thirds majority would be needed to send the bills to the Senate.  Given the early support from bipartisan leaders, it’s expected to be successful.

As discussions continue on the continuing resolution, for today the Senate is expected to vote on confirmation of the nomination of Marjorie Rollinson  to be Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service and an Assistant General Counsel in the Department of the Treasury and also vote on passage of S.J.Res.38, providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Highway Administration relating to “Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Electric Vehicle Chargers”, the objections of the President to the contrary notwithstanding.

House Republican leadership announced the House will not be in session for votes tomorrow and will finish the week today by considering H.R. 7463 – Extension of Continuing Appropriations and Other Matters Act-2024,  H.R. 7454 – Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2024 and H.R. 7102 – Native American Entrepreneurial Opportunity Act.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.