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House approves 6th spending bill amid Senate showdown.

The ⁢House Advances $5.3 Billion Legislative Branch Appropriations Measure

In a partisan Nov. 1 vote, the House approved a $5.3 billion⁤ Legislative Branch appropriations​ measure⁤ that slashes spending for⁣ congressional operations by over $1.5 billion⁢ from ⁢this year’s budget.

The‌ adoption of HR 4364, the Legislative Branch Appropriations⁢ Act, marks the House’s approval of ‍six ‌out of the 12 ⁣appropriations packages that make up the⁤ annual federal budget.

During committee hearings, Democrats argued that the proposed ‍cuts ​in the Legislative Branch budget,⁣ which funds important entities​ like the Capitol Police and the Library of Congress,‌ will‍ face opposition ​in the Democrat-led Senate.

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However, the 214–197 floor vote that sent the smallest of the 12 annual budget ‌bills to the⁣ Senate lacked any floor debate or commentary. This further⁣ solidifies the certainty of ‌a budget showdown between the chambers‍ in the final days, if not the waning hours, before the ‍temporary measure funding federal agencies ⁤expires on Nov. 17.

The House Rules Committee approved the Legislative⁤ Branch​ budget in a partisan 9–4 Oct. 2 tally. The⁤ only​ agency⁣ to receive a funding increase under the House plan ⁢is the‍ Capitol Police, with‌ a $781 million fiscal year (FY) ⁢2024 budget that exceeds ​this year’s plan by $46 million.

During the Oct. 2 hearing, Rep.⁢ Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) expressed concerns that the bill fails to⁢ make⁤ the Capitol secure or ⁣inclusive, stating that it eliminates diversity, equity, and ⁣inclusion programs ‍and allows for discrimination against⁤ the LGBTQI+ community.

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When it became clear that Congress would ‍not adopt a new budget before the fiscal⁢ year began on Oct. 1, a stopgap funding‌ bill known as a ​continuing resolution (CR) was passed to maintain current ⁤spending levels for‍ 45 days.

Prior to conceding⁢ to the CR, the House advanced four appropriations packages:​ the $17.5⁢ billion Military Construction-Veterans Affairs budget, the $886.3 billion National Defense Authorization Act, the $91.5 billion Homeland Security spending plan, and the $52.5 billion State ⁤Department ‌budget.

The⁣ Defense, ⁣Homeland Security, and State Department House budgets were adopted on Sept. 28. However, the proposed $22.5‍ billion farm ⁣bill was ‍rejected in a ⁣237–191 vote on the same‍ day. All‌ budgets, except for defense, feature significant spending‌ cuts.

The adoption of the Sept. 30 CR led to‌ the‌ dramatic removal of‍ Speaker Kevin‍ McCarthy (R-Calif.) days later, followed by ‍three weeks of⁤ dysfunction and daily drama that paralyzed the House until⁢ Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) was selected as speaker on Oct. 25.

The following day, ​the House ‌approved its⁣ $57 billion Energy and Water ⁢Development appropriations‌ package, which is the fifth‍ out of ​the 12 spending bills.

The⁣ chamber now​ has just ⁢over two weeks to pass six more spending measures and ⁢initiate negotiations with⁢ the Senate ‍to develop a FY24 budget that both ⁣chambers can agree on. Government funding⁣ is set to expire ‍six⁣ days before Thanksgiving.

In an‍ Oct. 23 letter to fellow Republicans before being elected speaker, Mr. Johnson emphasized that since the Senate had not approved any FY24 bills, the ⁣House ‌should swiftly pass‌ its bills with spending cuts⁤ to negotiate “from a position of strength” and compel the Senate to accept ⁣some⁣ of‌ the reductions. The Senate passed its first⁢ spending package on Nov. 1.

The House is expected to vote on at ⁢least two more FY24 appropriations packages by the ‌end of the week, possibly as‍ early as‌ Nov.‍ 2.

In late Nov. 1 partisan votes, ⁣the House Rules Committee advanced‍ HR 4820, ⁣the proposed $90.24 ⁣billion FY24​ Transportation,⁢ Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act, and HR 4821, the proposed $34.8 ⁢billion Department of the Interior⁣ FY24 spending plan.

What are the potential consequences if Congress‍ fails to reach a budget ‌agreement before the expiration of the temporary funding measure

⁤ S, the $25.6 ​billion⁢ Energy and Water Development, the $81 billion Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and the $56 billion Commerce-Justice-Science measures. These⁤ bills have yet to be ⁢considered by the Senate.

The​ passage of the⁤ Legislative Branch appropriations measure is significant as it sets the stage for negotiations between the House and Senate⁤ to ‌reconcile their⁣ differing budget proposals.⁣ With a ​divided Congress⁤ and partisan tensions running⁢ high, reaching a budget agreement may prove challenging.

The proposed cuts‍ in the Legislative Branch budget ‍have drawn ​criticism ​from Democrats‌ who argue that‌ essential⁢ entities like the Capitol Police​ and the ​Library ‌of Congress will be adversely affected.⁤ They claim that these cuts will face opposition in‍ the Democrat-led ⁢Senate and that the final budget agreement ⁢may seek to restore ⁣some of​ these ​funds.

On ⁢the other⁢ hand, ⁢the House plan does provide a funding increase for the Capitol Police, recognizing the​ importance of‌ keeping the Capitol secure. However, concerns⁤ have ​been raised ‌by Rep. Adriano Espaillat regarding the lack of provisions for diversity, equity, and⁣ inclusion programs, as well as the potential for discrimination⁤ against⁤ the LGBTQI+ community. These concerns may ⁢be addressed during negotiations between the House and Senate.

With ⁢the temporary​ measure funding federal agencies set to expire on Nov. 17, the pressure is on Congress to reach a⁢ budget agreement.​ Failure to ‌do so could ⁣result in a ​government shutdown or another‍ temporary funding⁤ extension. However, the lack of floor debate or ⁤commentary during the House vote on the⁢ Legislative Branch⁢ appropriations measure suggests that a budget showdown is likely between the chambers.

In the ⁣coming ‍days and weeks, Congress will need to work​ diligently to ⁤reconcile their differing budget proposals and address the⁣ concerns raised ​by both Democrats and Republicans. The ⁣outcome will have‌ far-reaching ‌implications for the​ functioning of the legislative branch and the various entities it funds.

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