Lawmakers Move to Avoid Shutdown, Citing Progress on Spending Deal

But some Republicans fear such a move could yield disastrous consequences for their party’s nascent majority, potentially leading to a shutdown that would put the party’s dysfunction on display just as it was reclaiming a measure of power on Capitol Hill.

Spending talks had been snarled for weeks over disagreements about how to divvy up money between military and domestic programs. Republicans balked at increasing the share of domestic funding, noting that Democrats over the last two years had muscled through trillions of dollars in climate, health care and social safety net spending over their unanimous opposition.

Mr. Shelby, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, said the total for the spending framework was around $1.7 trillion, though he declined to offer specifics. He described the spending level for the domestic programs Democrats prize as one “we think we can live with.”

Because Republican votes are needed to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the evenly divided Senate, aides in both parties conceded that it was likely that Democrats would agree to a higher overall military spending number. Lawmakers were expected to coalesce around about $858 billion in military spending — a figure set by a separate defense policy bill expected to clear the Senate this week.

“Republicans simply were not going to lavish extra liberal spending on the commander in chief’s own party as reward for adequately funding our national defense — it simply wasn’t going to happen,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, in a speech Wednesday morning. He added: “The framework agreement doesn’t mean the hard work is over. It means the hard work can finally start.”

Lawmakers and aides are now scrambling to not only finalize the details of the broader government funding measure, which would last through September 2023, but to agree on what other legislation could be included in the last must-pass legislative package of the year.

The measure also is expected to include emergency aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia, funds to help local communities recover from hurricanes and other natural disasters this past year, and an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act, the statute that former President Donald J. Trump sought unsuccessfully to exploit to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Lawmakers also were wrestling with the possibility of including a number of tax extensions, such as reviving the lapsed expansion of monthly payments to most families with children, and a series of bipartisan health and science bills.

Source link

Categories USA